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Early childhood educators from the Caribbean talk distance learning

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Posted: Friday, March 19, 2021. 10:15 am CST.

By Zoila Palma: Early childhood educators from across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are engaged in a 4-week workshop to improve their capacity to deliver high-quality distance learning experiences for young children.

The free training began on Wednesday, March 17, and goes through until April 7, 2021.

It is being hosted through a partnership among the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the CARICOM Secretariat, and the Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC) of The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus.

Among the many topics, teachers will explore strategies on how to help parents to support their children during home-based learning, expectations for teachers and children, the appropriate timeframe for children’s attention span, and how to keep children engaged during online learning.

During the virtual launch, Dr. Laurette Bristol, Program Manager for the Human Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, underscored the importance of high-quality early childhood education in individuals’ growth and development.

Bristol said that the education sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has placed greater emphasis on the upper levels of basic education, understandably so, because of the need for those students to transition to higher levels of learning.

Bristol urged participants to “buy-in to the responsibility to share” the knowledge they will obtain with their colleagues, and to exchange best practices among themselves to “build a strong foundation for quality early childhood education in the Region.”

Specialist for Education at UNESCO’s cluster office for the Caribbean, Dr. Faryal Khan applauded the courage teachers have demonstrated in ensuring continuous learning for young children, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Khan said UNESCO has been supporting regional education stakeholders’ responses on the principle of Sustainable Development Goal 4, which seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all.

In addition, Head of the Caribbean Child Development Centre and Director of the Consortium for Social Development and Research of The University of the West Indies, Ceceile Minott said the University is pleased to be associated with the “incredible partnership” with the CARICOM Secretariat and UNESCO.

She assured the participants that they were “in very capable hands” with facilitators who were Early Childhood Development coordinators and teachers.

Minott added that the UWI-Open Campus has developed expertise in distance learning methodologies, which it is pleased to share.



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