Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands

Program targets Early childhood learning

By MARGARET DAURE

TRADITIONAL child rearing methods are good but we need to improve them to prepare our children for the competitive and literate society they live in today, Moresby South MP Lady Carol Kidu said yesterday. Lady Kidu was speaking at an Early Childhood Development workshop currently underway at the Koki Bible House.
The program, for the Moresby South electorate, started in 1997 and since then, hundreds of men and women

Participants at the workshop yesterday.

of varying ages have taken part in the workshops.

Lady Kidu said the aim of the program, which targets disadvantaged communities, is to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood development, to encourage the concept of parent effectiveness training and to encourage the establishment of community-based preschools.

Participants from 11 different communities attending the workshop are learning skills and methods to accelerate children's learning potential. Participant Pauline Banai from Goilala, who lives at Two Mile, said she found the basic things about early childhood learning very important. She said the local church in Two Mile was planning to start a pre-school and she was eager to be a part of the early childhood learning of children in her community.

Trainer Mareta Vavona said early childhood learning gave children a head start in their learning process. "There is a need for pre-schools in the community. Children who go through early childhood learning are able to learn better when they go onto elementary schools," she said.

Lady Kidu said although the program will not have any immediate dramatic impact, she believed in its importance to help people understand that the first seven years is the most active learning time of a person's development. She said: "We can accelerate our children's learning potential if we create stimulating and nurturing environments for them in their early childhood. "In extended families and disadvantaged families, sometimes there are so many other priorities that the early learning needs of children may be overlooked."

The costs of the workshops are covered by the Moresby South discretionary funds and are open to anyone from the electorate who are recommended by the Community Development Committee (CDC) or by a church. If participants want to start a pre-school in their community, then they are provided with a basic start-up kit of materials to do so.

Lady Kidu said the workshops were one way to ensure that the Moresby South electorate is implementing the nation's commitment to the UN's Convention on the Rights of Children. 

Source: The National, 27 February 2001

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