101 teacher assistants attend early childhood care training | 06 August 2019
A group of early childhood teacher assistants are attending a two-week training programme to better equip them with the fundamental vocational skills, core knowledge and competences to discharge their instructional and non-instructional functions at school more effectively.
The Professional Certificate in Early Childhood care for teacher assistants in Seychelles was officially launched at the International Conference Centre yesterday by the principal secretary for Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary Education Odile de Comarmond.
The programme consists of 6 modules which are being facilitated by two lecturers from the SEED Institute based in Singapore, namely, Beth Frederick and Irene Tan, both of whom are experts in early childhood development and education.
“The role of teacher assistants was to work alongside and assist the class teacher to support pupils learning especially in literacy and numeracy and to perform other instructional duties under the guidance of the teacher and school management. A situational analysis of the effectiveness of teacher assistants at early childhood was conducted in 2016 and one of the concerns was the need to continue to build the capacity of our teacher assistants with a view to improve the quality of support that they are providing and to promote the further pre-literacy and numeracy,” PS de Comarmond said.
“It was also strongly recommended that the teacher assistant programme is reviewed so that the competencies reflect the skills, knowledge and aptitude required to strengthen the performance of the instructional and non-instructional duties. This is paramount because teacher assistants remain pivotal in building a strong foundation in early childhood, hence ensuring that pupils are able to continue their primary education with confidence and success,” PS de Comarmond added.
Of the 246 teacher assistants for early childhood in Seychelles, 101 have been selected to follow the training from numerous schools around Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
Miss Tan of SEEDS Institute explained that the institute offers numerous trainings for early childhood teachers and at different levels including certificate level and diplomas.
Following an assessment of the needs of the teachers, programmes are tailor-made to provide them with the necessary content and better the early-childhood landscape.
“We have 6 modules targeted at the skills they require so this will help them to be proficient in the work so we are talking about things like managing children’s behaviour. This is a common issue that they face in class so we are going to give them hands on tips on how to deal with behavioural issues or children with diagnosed and undiagnosed special needs because to be in an inclusive programme, as the government of Seychelles believes strongly in an inclusive environment, we are working with assistant teachers on how they can actually pick up the skills and offer the best early childhood practices and assist class teachers to help children,” Ms Tan noted.
Other modules are focused on the fundamentals of understanding how children learn, understanding child development, brain development and how children work in different ways according to different milestones so early childhood teachers gain more insight and can plan programmes that are not too challenging and which sets children up for failure but rather to give them a successful head-start.
“And they know that the children will gain confidence over time and this will in turn also give them the confidence to master the skills and that is actually in coherence with the holistic development of the child in terms of the social, emotional, physical and also the intellectual and language, our main points of focus,” she added.
Furthermore, Ms Tan asserted the need for teachers themselves to understand that the parents are the first teachers in the child’s life and that they should therefore be in working partnership with the parents.
“Also, we will be talking about assessment and observation of children. As a professional teacher, how do you actually assess children based on their abilities and their milestones so these are all 6 modules as they will learn about appropriate lessons and activities whether indoor or outdoor that is meaningful for children as they learn much through play and experience through hands-on activities so that is what we are going on for the 10 days and it is all meaningful and teachers can impart this in their classrooms,” Ms Tan concluded.
Geva Oreddy, a teacher assistant from Anse Royale crèche and who has been in service for 29 years, said she is enthusiastic about the programme.
“I am here to learn more and develop my skills so I can better discharge my duties with the children I work with,” Ms Oreddy noted.
Similarly, Tracy Lespoir from Pointe Larue primary who has been working with second year crèche students for the past 10 years, expressed her satisfaction at being selected to attend the programme.
“Even if I have the work experience, I feel that there is still a lot for me to learn and I am looking forward to the course and will make the most of it so I can work better with the children I am working with at schools,” she said.
At the end of each module, the teachers will undertake assessments and will be presented with their Professional Certificates in Early Childhood Care.