The immediate past principal of the Olga Millar Nursery School, Mrs. Wendy Small, has taken issue with the belief that the Schools Positive Behaviour Management Programme (SPBMP) should not be introduced in nursery schools.
Speaking at the launch of the SPBMP, an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training and UNICEF, at the Six Roads, St. Philip nursery school this morning, Mrs. Small asserted that the comment, which she said was espoused by a local broadcaster, came from a place of ignorance.
“Apparently, the broadcaster is of the opinion that Positive Management Programmes are for higher levels, but we know that we must train our children from early, so that when they are old they will not depart from the morals and values taught in their youth. You cannot bend a tree when it is old. If media workers do not know or understand what educators are doing in their various institutions they should ask, rather than assume and disseminate false information,” she told the audience, which comprised students, teachers and parents.
The veteran educator pointed out that the SPBMP could be tailored for children at all levels of the education system according to the age and needs of the students. She, however, noted that discipline began long before a child reached nursery school and started with parents, not the nursery or primary school teachers.
The retired educator cited the surge in deviant behaviour and the recent findings of research done by the Criminal Justice Research Planning Unit as justification for a programme like the SPBMP.
“This morning we officially launch the Schools Positive Behaviour Management Programme. We are well aware of the decline in morals and values in our society. We are facing some troubling challenges in our country. Just look at the way our students and young adults are behaving. It is frightening and we have to take action now to bring our society back from this dilemma.
“Since the beginning of the year, there has been a murder or some unnatural death…. Gun violence seems to be rampant. Children are breaking school rules and many of them are displaying deviant behaviour…. Action must be taken sooner rather than later if we are to rescue our youth and pull beautiful Barbados [back] from the lawlessness pervading our island home,” she emphasized.
Mrs. Small stated that as a country “we cannot throw our hands in the air or point fingers”, but instead do whatever it takes to return Barbados to a place where respect for life, law and order are once more hallmarks of society.
She said the programme had a number of benefits for nursery schools which included a reduction in the time teachers spent dealing with behavioural challenges; increased time on tasks which lead to more time for the teaching and learning process; the creation of student-friendly classrooms; parents’ involvement in the education of their children and provision is made for Health and Family Life Education to be taught using a variety of age appropriate methods.
She explained that as the programme was rolled out, teachers would embrace different strategies and reward systems to guide their students towards self-discipline and to adopt positive attitudes which would lead them to succeed in their school work and in life.
“As we launch this programme, it is our aim to develop self-discipline in our students and help them to set standards which will help them to be responsible for their behaviour and actions. In other words, we want to develop in our students the ability to behave and work in a controlled manner that teaching and learning can be optimized throughout their lives.”
New Anglican Bishop Michael Maxwell, a friend of the school, was also on hand to speak to, and encourage the children to exhibit positive behaviour at all times. Using the word ‘LIGHT” as an acronym meaning Love, Innocent, God, Helpful and Truth, he urged the pupils to let their light shine every day.
“If you are going to let your light shine, if you are going to shine every day and if you are going to soar in good behaviour then you have to let the light shine. You have to love, keep innocent, love God – He must be the centre of your lives – you have to be helpful and you have to tell the truth. Wherever you go, whether it is to your primary and secondary school, you must continue to be well-behaved boys and girls,” he urged.