Ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to education: A regional responsibility

by Joseph Wangija, Guest Contributor

On the 9th of August, 1965, Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew was devastated after realising that the merger between Malaysia and Singapore had come to an abrupt end after only two years. Singapore had few natural resources and its prospects did not look promising. One of the few available viable resources was a dilapidated seaport. The residents lacked not just economic resources, but a shared history. Despite those bleak prospects, Lee discovered that economic development could not be attained without human development.To achieve human development, however, educational reforms were a necessary prerequisite. As such, Lee Kuan Yew embarked on educational reforms. Today, with a GDP per capita of US$56,319, Singapore is a developed country (UNESCO, 2009).

Breaking the silence of child sexual abuse in the Caribbean: A community-based action research intervention

By Sandra D. Reid, Rhoda Reddock and Tisha Nickenig

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is prevalent in the Caribbean. In a survey of 15,695 students 10 to 18 years old, Halcon and colleagues (2003) found that 34.1% of children in 9 Caribbean countries were sexually active. Of these, 92.3% had their first sexual intercourse before the age of 16 years, 42.8% before the age of 10 years, and by age 16 to 18 years, 32.5% of males and 9.9% of females had more than 5 sexual partners. Most alarming, however, is that 47.6% of females and 31.9% of males described their first intercourse as forced or somewhat coerced and attributed blame to family members or persons known to their family.

Pre-school teachers make a difference by engaging in tough conversations on social issues that affect young children and their families (Part Two)

By Lesleann Whiteman

[This is Part Two of the article Pre-school Teachers Make a Difference by Engaging in Tough Conversations on Social Issues that Affect Young Children and Their Families. To read Part One, please click here.]

Supporting Parents: Interactive Workshops

Based on the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings previously discussed on the significance of creating genuine parent-teacher relationships in the best interest of young children’s developmental outcomes, I have always taken into consideration the well-being of children and families who may be challenged to provide healthy snacks and lunches for their children. Due to the mutual trust and respect between the families and myself, some of the parents felt comfortable confiding in me when they were unable to provide a healthy snack/lunch for their child and in such cases I used the following strategies:

Pre-school teachers make a difference by engaging in tough conversations on social issues that affect young children and their families (Part One)

by Lesleann Whiteman

As a trained pre-school teacher I was taught to adopt the philosophy: young children enter early childhood programmes with their families. If there were any social issues such as poverty, or life-style related diseases impacting the family, it would also impact upon the child’s holistic development. Therefore, I learned how to engage parents in tough conversations on societal issues by working in partnership with them, sometimes with the support of specific community organisations, to overcome issues such as poverty. In this article, I will share the practical strategies I used to address the societal issue of poverty or limited socio-economic resources encountered by some families and children. Hopefully, these strategies can be applied to other early childhood programmes within the Caribbean as early childhood professionals frequently work with children and families who are faced with societal issues that could sometimes impede children’s holistic development.  

The Early Childhood Care and Education Teacher - The unsung hero of society. By Patricia Bissessar

By Patricia Bissessar

None will dispute the fact that the move toward provision of pre-school education for all who require it in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is undoubtedly a profitable investment in our human capital formation. According to economist and Nobel Prize Winner Jack Heckman (2012), exposure to early childhood experiences in pre-school years are not only fundamental to the success of each child in life, but it is a cost-effective strategy for promoting the economic growth and stability of a country. Empirical evidence is also available from around the world to show that sufficient financial investments made in pre-school education can increase primary school readiness, lower repetition and dropout rates, reduce teenage pregnancy rates and decrease dependency on social welfare benefits (Lamy, 2013).

Play’s importance for children: Links to learning By Dr. James Johnson

By Dr. James Johnson

A current important issue facing educational professionals in the Caribbean region is how to improve the understanding of play and learning during the early years and how to apply this to enhance the quality of programs for young children (Logie, 2013).  The place of play is contested. One reason for opposing play in early education is the ambiguity that often surrounds the term ‘play’.