Plan Provides Educational Toolkits to Pre-School Teachers in Sri Lanka
Hemawathie Manike, a pre-school teacher with 13 years of teaching experience, might be forgiven for thinking that she’s seen everything when it comes to Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD). Manike earned her diploma in ECCD at a teacher training center in Sri Lanka’s western Kurunegala district and promptly created the Dimuthu Early Childhood Development Center.
In the beginning, she worked with the most minimal facilities and had only one assistant. Now she registers between 35 and 45 children at her ECCD Center each year. She accepts that her formal training lacks the techniques that are necessary in identifying the different stages of child development, or delayed development in children.
Toolkits Help Teachers Track the Progress of Every Student
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs has yet to define the early learning standards, which means that pre-school teachers may not pay enough attention to the needs of individual children. When children are enrolled each year, their teachers have often prepared lesson plans without considering the differences in the maturity and competencies of the children–and they might assume that all of the children are at same emotional and intellectual level.
Plan's goal is to make the first grade at school easier for children by giving pre-school teachers the means to assess how individual children are developing.
“We realized the importance of having a toolkit to monitor the child development process,” says Manike. “By using simple tools, we’ve learned how to assess the level of children’s physical competencies, personal and social skills, analytical and problem solving skills, communication skills, and development of creativity and aesthetic abilities.”
Teachers Recognize Toolkit Benefits
The new assessment toolkit features about 60 items relating to five child development areas. “The trick is to identify and observe the way children play with these items so that we are able to understand different levels of children,” she says. “Before receiving the toolkit and the training, it was as if we were blind.”
Sri Lanka is now in the process of establishing the national learning standards for children under five with the support from the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs.