Aug 04, 2017 News
Teachers are not doctors nor are they psychologists, but they certainly can take note of some issues faced by children within their charge in the school system.
This was amplified yesterday by educator for more than four decades and special needs educators for 28 years, Dr. Gloria Thompson.
“As Caribbean people, one thing I’ve noted is that when it comes to mental health we don’t take note of that, and we think the child will grow out of it. But we have to pay attention. Mental health is part of growing up and teachers need to know if something is going on. We are not doctors or psychologists, but we can document things to see if we need to look some more at them; we need to talk to the parents,” Dr. Thompson asserted.
Dr. Thompson was one of the facilitators who shared her knowledge with local educators about measures they can employ to advance the delivery of early childhood education. The career-educator is the Coordinator of Education within the Guyana Jamaica Friendship Association [GJFA] which is based in the United States.
According to the Jamaican national, she has long been helping to sensitise her fellow Jamaican educators, but given her involvement with the GJFA, she also saw the need to bring a similar initiative to Guyana.
“I thought it would be a good idea to have something for early childhood teachers in Guyana, since I am doing something for teachers so that they can educate our youngest and let them know that they are the present and also the future of our country. I am doing a workshop on STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics] in early childhood education and also to look at exceptional children,” related Dr. Thompson.
The workshop commenced yesterday at the Umana Yana in Kingston, Georgetown.
Among her roles at the workshop, which will conclude today, is to enlighten educators that the performances of children could be impacted by their different learning abilities.
“In most communities, we always look at the gifted ones, and then there are those who are at the other end of the continuum who we say are troublesome and they don’t want to learn, but we need to know why,” Dr. Thompson said.
As an early childhood interventionist, Dr. Thompson has been working with children from the age of 0 -3 in their homes with their parents. According to her, “There are things that I learn [when dealing with children] that I would like them [parents] to be aware of. When these children come to school they are coming with certain things, and how we as educators deal with these things is important.”
Dr. Thompson has observed that while some children are born with learning challenges, there are others who may develop these because of prevailing situations in the home or within the family. “We may not be able to do things for the children who are physically handicapped because of problems with hearing or sight; those we have to accept and decide how we can work around,” said Dr. Thompson.
As such, Dr. Thompson stressed the need for teachers to not only recognise but to encourage children from an early age to overcome their difficulties.
“We know about these difficulties, so we are teaching these teachers to help these children so that they can overcome and be part of society and not be a burden to society,” said Dr. Thompson.
In so doing, Dr. Thompson stressed the need for the inclusion of parents and the family as a whole. “I encourage teachers to, as much as possible, integrate strong parental bond and with the entire family. Teachers can have programmes that involve families in the teaching and learning situation in this process,” said Dr. Thompson.
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