Learning kits for all Nursery School teachers by September …project to cost MoE $142M
(February 28, 2018) – During her 2017 budget presentation, Minister of Education Nicolette Henry announced that this year, greater emphasis will be placed on the early childhood programme. In this regard, tangible sums will be expended in 2018 to strengthen the nursery programme across the country.
According to Deputy Chief Education Officer (Ag) Ms Ingrid Trotman, come September this year the Ministry of Education (MoE) will be procuring 1500 nursery school kits for coastland teachers to assist with the delivery of the Nursery school programme. The kits will cost $142M; one kit comprises of 25 to 30 pieces of items including counting blocks, a doctor set, a baker’s set, additionally the kit contains packages with different kinds of animals. “We are exposing them to different animals, we have puzzles and books to go with it” Ms. Trotman quipped.
The kits are currently being used, in a pilot project started in 2014, by teachers in four hinterland regions, 1,7, 8, and 9 with the objective of ensuring that teachers are in possession of materials to assist with the learning process.
Prior to 2014, teachers were concerned that they were spending most of their time preparing learning materials for their lessons. According to Ms Trotman “instead of spending time preparing materials we (MoE) provide them (teachers) with material so that they can spend time fine tuning the different strategies and methods in teaching the children”.
According to Trotman, since the project was piloted in 2014, the MoE has seen the literacy rates improve in the schools where the kits are being used. She said it is for this reason that the initiative will be rolled out to all schools across the country.
Added to that, Trotman said the pilot project provided vital information since the MoE found some materials were underutilized. Further, she noted that those will be substituted with local materials generic to that specific area. Notwithstanding that, Trotman said that although there can be minor adjustments, generally the kit is standardized so that all nursery schools are operating on the same level.
“What we have found, out of the 30 different materials in the kit, we looked at how many were being used on a constant basis, and those materials that are popular with the teachers and the children”.
According to Ms Trotman, the materials are multi-dimensional, they can be used for literacy, numeracy and for other aspects of learning and teaching as well. At present, the education system has 1,918 nursery school teachers, 332 nursery schools,15 annexes and 161 nursery classes.