May 19, 2013 News
Nursery education is not compulsory but no child is denied a space at school. Currently, a child is admitted in a nursery school in September at the age of three years if that child turned three at least by March 31 of that year. This however will change in 2014 when children will be admitted in September if they are three years old by June 30 of that year, according to Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand.
This move, she says, will not only ease the burden on parents and remove the disadvantages to those children who were born after March 31, but will be more in keeping with international standards.
According to the International Standard Classification of Education, Pre-Primary or Nursery Education has been classified as the initial stage of organised instruction. This is intended to be school or centre-based and is designed for children at least three years old. With this move nursery education in Guyana would be further enhanced.
The aim of nursery education is to promote physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development; teach basic skills; and instill the desire to learn. Children access these areas through a well-developed nursery programme that use structured imaginative play, planned and delivered by qualified teachers.
The minister points out that there is no denying that Guyana has a well-developed nursery programme and an adequate number of trained teachers who are capable of delivering this programme.
The programme includes planned play activities and experiences that help each child regardless of their background make progress in their development and learning. It takes into consideration that all children have a range of different experiences, skills and interests which teachers learn about by observing the children.
They then plan with each child’s interests and abilities in mind. Themes or topics are also introduced to support development and knowledge of new concepts to children.
In the nursery programme attention is paid to the monitoring of each child’s progress throughout their time at nursery to ensure they are making progress and that particular difficulties in any of the areas of learning, whatever the cause, are identified and addressed.
Teachers are aware that prompt and appropriate action at this stage could help prevent children from developing learning difficulties later in their school career. Teachers record their observations on primarily checklists but also use other types of records including the Child Development Index Card. Teachers know that children have to move on to another level of schooling so they ensure that the monitoring and recording are conducted in a rigorous manner so that information could be shared at the other level of schooling.
“The Ministry of Education is aware of the impact Nursery Education can have on the future of children and has committed itself to ensuring that our children have the best possible Nursery Education. Research has shown that those children who have had a good Nursery Education, go on to generally higher grades, greater literacy; are unlikely to commit crime and are less likely to fall victim to teen pregnancy and other negative and socially inhibiting behaviours.
Simply put, Nursery education has been shown to give children the best possible opportunity to reach their full potential,” the minister said.
It is for this reason that attention is paid to the facilities that are provided for pupils. Careful attention is paid to ensuring that the buildings, furniture, learning/teaching materials and the environment adhere to the standards required for effective nursery education.
The Ministry also acknowledges that qualified teachers are required to implement the nursery programme and has been providing training for teachers at the University level, the College Level and at the school level.
At the school level Infant Field Officers have been trained to give ongoing support to teachers. Our high enrolment rate of over 80% at the nursery level is no doubt a result of the Ministry’s efforts in ensuring that everything is in place to support the nursery programme, including partnerships with parents, NGO’s and other organisations.
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