UNICEF/ECDU partnership advancing the cause of children

Child observed by UNICEF Rep during visit

(EMU) – St. Kitts, Nov 12, 2012 — The Early Childhood Programme in St. Kitts and Nevis continues to stand as a model in the region, as one of the first to implement the High Scope Programme which emphasizes age appropriate activities for the nation’s youngest children.

The recent visit of UNICEF Official Shelley-Ann Harper to the Early Childhood Development Unit was to observe best practices in the High Scope based Early Childhood Programme by way of witnessing its curriculum in practice at day care centres.

Early Childhood Director Mrs. Jacquelyn Morris revealed that the official also visited homes where the Unit is conducting the Reaching the Unreached Programme as well as classes where the Pre to Primary School Transition Programme has been implemented.

Additionally, Ms. Harper had discussions with a team from the Early Childhood Unit and the Cotton Thomas Comprehensive School as well as the Ministries of Health and Education to assess the Federation’s Early Stimulation Interventions and Screening, Detection and Referral Systems for developmental disorders which is a priority for UNICEF.

Senior Education Officer with responsibility for the School Safety Programme, Michael Blake also met with Ms. Harper to consider and identify ways to move forward in implementing of an age group specific intervention for the 0-5 cohort for pre and post disaster situations.

Ms Harper was complimentary in her assessment of what she witnessed in St Kitts and Nevis during her short visit. She emphasized to Permanent Secretary of Education, Ionie Liburd- Willett and Chief Education Officer, Clarice Cotton UNICEF’s focus for funding and technical support in the 0-3 age cohort, commenting that the Federation’s emphasis was also in alignment and should be maintained and maximized.

The High Scope Programme first implemented in the Federation 25 years ago, was implemented in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Dominica in collaboration with UNICEF in 2008. It is considered one of the most effective approaches to early education that when implemented equips children with the necessary cognitive, social and life skills to succeed in school.

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