The Daily Herald writes that the Expertise Centre Education Care (EC2) has developed a new programme in early childhood development to assist parents in structuring their interactions with children of ages 4-8. EC2 Director Henriette van Heijnsbergen and behavioural coach Connie Adkins explained the purpose of “Jump Start.” The logo of the programme features a puppet character “Miss KT Jumper the kangaroo with her son Joey Jumper holding a book in his hand,” said Van Heijnsbergen.
The idea is to support parents in their interactions with children and have them learn new ways to interact in explaining how to use school prerequisites in structured learning/play sessions, which the parents could initiate on their own.
The programme involves parent and child playing with book characters, games targeting words recognition and using role playing as a means of enhancing positive attitudes towards the structured learning process. The materials provided include age-specific educational DVDs, audio books to go with the printed materials and figurines. The interaction materials were secured by EC2 from educational publishers in the United States and the Netherlands.
The service is available to parents by visiting the EC2 office during regular business hours or by arranging family visits for explanation of the play sets. Parents are encouraged to call 416-3809, and to regularly visit the EC2 social media accounts or Website www.ec2saba.org
Play set boxes are for rent against payment of a small deposit fee. On return of the set in good condition parents can take home another box for continued participation in the programme. There are 11 boxes available, each with a different set of educational playtime materials and themes. Adkins stressed that these boxes are to be used only during the involvement of the parent in meaningful interaction and are not to be used to have the child play on its own or to watch television. Van Heijnsbergen explained that these programmes are available around the world, specifically targeting young children’s development such as the “Head Start” programme in the United States and the “Opstart” (Start-up) programme in the Netherlands. These prepare children for interacting with others in a group-learning setting such as at school. “We want parents to experience that with certain materials they can really enrich their relationship with their child,” said Van Heijnsbergen. Parents do not necessarily need to read to the child, as some books are voice recorded on CDs, but even with Sesame Street shows parents are encouraged to play an active educational role. “The goal is that the social-emotional skills of the child and the bond formed with the parent are enhanced and enriched,” Van Heijnsbergen stated.