Child Stimulation Month Begins with Major Parade of Preschoolers
The number of preschoolers is on an upward trend. Today, there are over two hundred and twenty-nine preschools across the country with over seven thousand five hundred students enrolled in early childhood centers. That figure is a combination of three and four year olds referred to as level one and level two students in the school system. With that statistic, Child Stimulation Month began in earnest today across the country. News Five’s Duane Moody reports from the Memorial Park in Belize City.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Simultaneously across the districts, activities were held to mark the start of Child Stimulation Month. Today, as a first activity, hundreds of preschoolers paraded through the streets of Belize City from Memorial Park to Constitution Park.
Nadira Ross, Acting Manager, Early Childhood Unit, QUADS
“We are kicking off the child stimulation month with an opening ceremony that just ended and an opening parade where this year’s parade, we are taking the shape of going through the themes in the Early Childhood curriculum. You will see our little ones portraying community helpers, shapes, colors, animals, transpiration. All these themes you can find in our early childhood curriculum that is being used countrywide in our preschool centers.”
Among the many schools participating in the parade today was the Etel Vargas Preschool in Belize City, who did the theme “Under the Sea.”
Barbara Elijio, Head Teacher, Etel Vargas Preschool
“We represent wild animals and there is wild animals on land and under the sea so we chose the theme under the sea because there is a lot of colors, a lot of animals and a lot of different things under the sea. So it is so beautiful. And if you can look at the children and look at our mermaid under that side, she is so beautiful.”
“So as you guys parade down the street, what can people see as you walk pass?”
“As we parade down the street, people can look to see the different see animals—the shark, you know the mermaid represent the manatee and then you can see the jellyfish, you can see the crab, the seahorse.”
“How long did it take you guys to prepare for this?”
“It takes…from last month we begin preparing because it is a lot of work.
“How important is this in terms of your students and their early childhood learning?”
“Well we haven’t taught the theme wild animals or under the sea as yet, but as we were preparing, the children were involved so they get to know a lot of sea animals. So by the time we are ready to teach this lesson, they will be able to have a lot of input within the lesson.”
According to Acting Manager at the Early Childhood Unit of the Ministry of Education, Child Stimulation Month dates as far back as 1984 and is celebrated annually in Belize during the month of March. The purpose is to create public awareness for stakeholders who have a vested interest in early childhood development. For some time now, the ministry has placed added focus on this formative stage.
“We are focusing on early childhood because that period from birth to five is very crucial period in terms of a child’s development and if we can do everything that we possibly can within that window, then we know that that journey and that start to move off and that foundation would have been made and we definitely would have had bright little ones coming up in the future.”
Duane Moody for News Five.