Chief Education Officer Connie George has said the Ministry of Education is experiencing challenges in finding a well-balanced system of learning for preschoolers ahead of the new school year.
George gave that indication while responding to questions about the reopening of schools during a live public forum this week.
She said: “I was speaking with one of my early childhood principals and I was saying this is the area that is really giving us a lot of struggles to identify the best way to deal with them because they are so small and the whole engagement with online and keeping them steady and everything like that is posing some challenges.”
George also said she is hoping for the resumption of face-to-face teaching, at least for preschool students.
Until it is safe to do so, the Chief Education Officer said she believes sending the preschoolers weekly packages of educational material — along with the guidance of the parents — will have to suffice. Parents would assist by engaging with the material with their child or children.
“One of the key things that we have been promoting and encouraging them to do is to go the route of the packages, go the route of videos and sharing the videos so that they can sit and watch because you know they learn a lot in that way,” George stated.
In the meantime, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley appealed to business owners to be considerate with their employees who have school-aged children.
“We really need our employers – the business community – to be able to be understanding in this particular period so persons who have small children to be able to make flexible working arrangements for them,” he stated.
“We know it is more difficult for some jobs than others but we just have to try our best to try to work with parents with small children to ensure that they are able to give the support to that particular group as much as possible,” Dr Wheatley added.
All public schools are scheduled to officially commence the 2020/2021 academic year from September 21.