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An early start is best

Chandra Fisi'iahi
Monday, July 17, 2017

To put others before themselves is what EduFiji Kidz aims to achieve through love and passion for Fiji's children.

EduFiji Kidz is a non-profit organisation which encourages the growth of preschool children to become lifelong learners by supporting motivated volunteers, early childhood teachers and also by providing ECE (early childhood education) centres with educational resources.

"This project was specifically put together to acknowledge the importance of 'Early Childhood Education' and help ECE centres in Fiji by rising funds and awareness to provide educational resources for their kindergartens," said the co-ordinator for the workshop program, Kelera Yalidole. The workshop was recently held at Davuilevu, Nausori.

Ms Yalidole arranges with the Ministry of Education for the kindergartens that really need the help and the ministry chooses which kindergartens come to the workshops.

The program is endorsed by international and New Zealand-based Fijian sportsmen and women who want to give back to their communities and believe children should have a solid educational foundation through having the right resources to support their learning development.

"EduFiji Kidz is a way for me to give back to my beloved homeland, Fiji. When I was presented with the opportunity to help out with this charity that looks at supporting teachers and children, I jumped at the chance," co-founder, Patrick Osborne said

For the past three-years EduFiji Kidz has visited Fiji and organised four workshops for ECE teachers to educate them more on building a solid foundation for pre-school children.

"The purpose for the workshop was to build on the previous workshops extending the focus to natural materials; this is part of their Train the Trainer program," Ms Yalidole said

The Train the Trainer program was developed to promote volunteer education through supporting educational strategies and learning outcomes of various development areas.

"The organisation brings in facilitators that help in delivering professional development courses to ECE teachers focussing on using the resource kits with various strategies and techniques across the all the levels of childhood development," Ms Yalidole said

"This year at the two-day workshop, one of the strategies this is included in the program is called Head, Body and Heart which was facilitated by Ms Lauren and Mrs Malo," Ms Yalidole added

The facilitators try to enable teachers during the workshop to deliver the same workshop when going back to their communities, hoping to building their skill level and encouraging them to become experts in their field.

After the two days, every participant of the program gets a certificate with the chance of getting a diploma and visiting a New Zealand-based ECC for intensive, hands-on training in an environment equipped with the necessary resources, bringing that knowledge back to Fiji.

What is early

childhood education?

Early childhood education is a set of educational strategies specifically designed for children attending ECE centres.

Early childhood education is beneficial for children aged three, four and five. It's also often mentioned to as preschool, pre-kindergarten, day care here in Fiji, no matter the name, each serves the same purpose which is to prepare children for their transition into primary school.

Sending your preschool-age child to one of the early childhood education centres near you can make a positive impact on her/him and give her/him a head start toward a bright future.

How important is early childhood education?

Think it in this way; for their first few years in life, children soak up information mainly through social interaction and early education. For example when your child follows you around, copying your actions and words.

Thus teachers can play a significant role in children's lives right alongside friends and the parents themselves, implementing the right kind of interactive education.

This is exactly what makes early childhood education so important and can make a great difference in children's lives whether one is aware of it or not.

Children disadvantaged of such education often lack a sense of comfort and safety which may keep on even in their adult years.

So basically why ECE is important is because, it builds the foundation of a child's growth and like how the strength of a building lies in its foundation, so does a child's future.

Early childhood

education centres in Fiji

ECE centres across Fiji focus on preparing young children for primary education.

ECE centres aims to have teachers who are well-trained and knowledgeable about the best types of early education practices.

Universities in Fiji now include courses designed for teaching teachers the importance of building a strong foundation for young learners. Workshops like the once organised by EduFiji Kidz can improve teaching methods for early childhood teachers as well.

Those teachers go forward to emphasise child development, young children's learning styles and proper parent communication techniques.

Our early childhood teachers need to dedicate themselves to helping children learn, grow and develop to their full potential and to helping parents, families, and communities build strong communities.

We are a country of diversity, we are diverse in cultural and religious activities, life style, food, clothing and festivities, thus this should also be reflected at the ECE centres across Fiji.

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