Early Childhood Educators have been encouraged to always have an educational plan that is age and developmentally appropriate.
This advice has come from Director of the Child Care Board, Joan Crawford, who recently addressed a workshop for Early Childhood practitioners at Solidarity House.
Ms. Crawford urged the practitioners to always have a written plan which targets the varying needs of the groups of children with whom they work, as activities should not be done haphazardly.
???Early practitioners in most centres are resistant to writing down a plan of activities as they are of the view that they are not teachers. However, let me remind you that whether you want to accept it or not, you are a teacher.
“Children model your speech and your behaviours whether you want to or not; you are the significant person in their lives. As a result, you must ensure that your actions and activities reflect professionalism because you are a professional,??? she emphasised.
The Director noted that early childhood education may take varying forms depending on the parent or the educator, but she stressed that most people would agree that there is ???remarkable brain development??? during a child???s early years, which sets the foundation for its development.
???Early Childhood Care and Development is much more than custodial care, that is, cleaning, changing diapers and feeding. It involves you the professionals, the early childhood practitioners, (supervisors, operators and caregivers) assisting with the development of the minds, skills and abilities of the future leaders of Barbados, through teaching and modelling the appropriate skills and behaviours.
???For that reason, your plan should take into consideration your target population, age-wise. As a practitioner, it is incumbent on you to be knowledgeable about child development and learning,??? she stressed.
Ms. Crawford also stated that it was important for educators to note and understand that all areas of learning and development are important, and that children develop and learn at different rates and learn in different ways.
???It is an accepted fact that a significant amount of time during the first two years of life is spent in the creation of a child’s first “sense of self” or the building of a first identity. Your plans should therefore provide opportunities for such.
???If a young child does not receive sufficient nurturing, nutrition, parental/caregiver interaction, and stimulation during this crucial period, then the child may be left with a developmental deficit that hampers his or her success in the later years,??? she cautioned.
Early Childhood Education is a term which describes the formal teaching and care of children from birth to eight years, by persons who are not related, outside the home.
The workshop, which formed part of Child Month celebrations, was hosted by the Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children, in association with the Sandals Foundation, The University of the West Indies ??? Family Development Centre, St Augustine Campus, and the Barbados Child Care Board.