Eye-catching, colorful and creative paintings, drawings, games, hand puppets, building blocks and more – the work of preschoolers – are on display in the foyer of the Ministry of Education in recognition of Pre-School Week. The Early Childhood Education Section through the Department of Education officially opened the Exhibition of Children’s Work and the 15thannual Pre-School Week Monday, April 16th. The theme for the week is “Let the Children Play.” In remarks, Dr. Lisa Fitzcharles, Acting Senior Assistant Secretary, said the organizers of the week have captured the importance of play in early childhood education through the 2018 theme.
Dr. Fitzcharles recalled the admonishment of the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, the Minister of Education, to newly appointed teachers in 2017 to let children play and his recommendation for a properly controlled, supervised environment where children are allowed to play. She gave the organizers of the Pre-School week an A+ grade for acting upon the Minister’s remarks in a tangible way and using it as inspiration for this year’s theme. “We must ensure that what we put on paper we turn it into action. It must be daily action and not just for a special event or a particular occasion. “Through your creativity and innovation, you have shown us ways in which pre-schoolers can be engaged in active, meaningful learning through play. Activities such as play blocks, drama and the use of games enhance learning and enrich lives,” she said. Dr. Fitzcharles commended the Department of Education and participating schools and thanked them for remaining abreast of current practices in early childhood education.
“In so doing you have ensured that our pre-school students are exposed to developmentally appropriate activities through play. You know that you are on the right track since the most notable organization in early childhood education the National Association of the Education of Young children has indicated that play is an important vehicle for self-regulation as well as for promoting language, cognition, and social competence. Play gives children opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, develop physically, express their emotions, build creativity, and solve problems. We should encourage that,” she stated. Ellen Rhodriquez, Senior Education Officer, said the week highlights the importance of pre-school education in the Bahamas. She said the exhibition depicts and highlights various learning center activities that children engage in through play such as building with blocks, outdoor physical development as well as hands-on activities to develop skills such as math and language. Activities for the week include a church service, parents’ night, sports day, literacy fair, parade/road march.
There are 22 government pre-school units and 6 stand-alone pre-schools.