First early childhood training room opens | 21 February 2019
The first early childhood training room in the country, located at the Seychelles Institute of Teacher Education (Site), Mont Fleuri, officially opened yesterday afternoon with a brief ceremony and the unveiling of the room and its facilities.
The opening of the specialised room, equipped with facilities and resources to enable training at early-childhood level for both students of the institution and other early-childhood service providers inclusive of day-care centres, childminders, in-service and pre-service teachers as well as teaching assistants coincides with the Second International Biennial Conference on Early Childhood Development from February 21-23.
Present for the opening were Minister for Education and Human Resource Development Jeanne Simeon, director of Unesco’s International Bureau of Education (IBE) Mmantsetsa Marope, principal secretary for early childhood, primary and secondary education Odile de Comarmond, chief executive of the Institute of Early Childhood Development Shirley Choppy and director of Site Rosianna Jules. Also present were board members of Site and key officials from the Ministry of Education.
Minister Simeon said that the department of education, through the goals, strategies and interventions of the early childhood care and education (ECCE) subsector aims to further facilitate the provision of safe and stimulating environments for children of the early childhood age in partnership with stakeholders and the private sector.
“The training room will enable site to enhance the quality of training for caregivers and ECCE practitioners to better support young children’s overall development. It will also ensure adherence to regulations and standards in early learning provision and empower trainees to develop their own ideas on how best to cater to the learning needs of each and every child in their care,” she said.
According to Minister Simeon, the facility will enable children to have better opportunities to develop their intellectual, socio-emotional and psycho-motoring skills in order to build their confidence in the learning process which is characterised by play, exploration and experimentation.
“There are many factors influencing a child’s early learning and this includes parents, caregivers and other children. Perhaps the factor with the greatest impact is the early-learning environment. An effective learning environment encourages learning through play with a rich set of materials and learning opportunities and is also responsive containing features that involve all five senses and provide thinking and creativity. The project has been conceived with this is mind,” Minister Simeon added.
The project was conceptualised in May 2017 following a call from IECD for projects that can bring long-term benefits to the overall development of children in Seychelles.
Early childhood lecturer at Site and project coordinator Lymia Bibi remarked that the project is the third project in the ECCE National Action Plan 2017-2018 to be materialised.
“The project also aims at promoting the importance of learning through play by giving children hands-on experiences using educational resources. Some of the major tasks included designing the room layout, refurbishing the room, procuring resources such as toys and furniture and setting up of the room,” Ms Bibi said.
Refurbishment of the room was sponsored by Keshra Bhudia of Shreeji Construction and Laxmi trading in collaboration with the Melvyn Jones Fellowship Lion’s Club of Seychelles.
Site funded all additional works and resources such as demolition and clearing, repainting of the room, electrical and plumbing works and the procurement of furniture while IECD provided guidance and monitored the progress of the project through various consultative meetings.
Toys and games as well as books for children were acquired through a grant provided by the ECCE Trust Fund.