Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, in 2008, introduced a HighScope Preschool Curriculum Programme to two preschools in St. Kitts and one preschool in Nevis, to determine best teaching practices for this age group.
The programme, which was evaluated by Manitou Inc. through the years, was also centred around introducing distinct curriculum content areas for each topic and age group taught, assessment tools and a training model. In addition, it was designed to suit the needs of each institution chosen and reduce inequalities for all children.
According to representative of Manitou Inc. Tristi Nichols, after much evaluation of the programme it was determined that the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders should continue to serve children using research-based practices and engage in community partnerships to secure resources for materials. In addition, they should undertake assessment procedures which are not burdensome, pay teachers for their services and support the on-going costs to implement the curriculum, that is, classroom materials, school yard upkeep, equipment, and recurrent costs.
She also stated that “the implementation of the HighScope preschool curriculum could further promote Early Childhood Development (ECD) with an equity focus by ensuring that the regulations developed to sufficiently monitor the learning centres are gazetted.”
“The financial and human resources made available to support early childhood development, including the adoption of the HighScope curriculum, are indeed remarkable,” she stated. “Planning and additional support is also needed in order for these duty bearers to maintain and continue expanding future efforts.”
Chief Education Officer Clarice Cotton expressed the Ministry’s gratitude to UNICEF for its ongoing support to the early childhood sector in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“I want also to thank UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Office for providing financial and technical support for the implementation of the HighScope curriculum in St. Kitts and Nevis since 2008 and its evaluation in 2014,” she said. “This support is in fact one of the Ministry’s strategies outlined in the Education White Paper to achieve the goal of providing access to quality education for all the nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis, in institutions that foster the spiritual, cultural and moral, intellectual, physical, social and economic development of the individual and of the community. These too are the goals of early childhood where we keep emphasising that we want to provide quality education.”