As global concerns increase about the effectiveness of schools in edu Tlcating and developing the human resource potential critical to economic and social advancement, countries worldwide have embarked on a wide range of school improvement initiatives. Central to these is the belief that good teachers are the most critical component of what schools need to do a good job, and good teachers need to benefit from good education programmes (Villegas-Reimers and Reimers 2000).
This paper identifies and addresses potential conflicts in Jamaican lower primary school curriculum practices arising from a curriculum reform initiative of the Ministry of Education. This initiative involves revising the grades 1-3 primary curriculum from a subject-based to an integrated model in the second phase of a Primary Education Improvement Project (PEIP II), partially funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The rapid expansion in early childhood development programmes throughout the world in the last two decades attests to the growing recognition that preschool intervention programmes have the potential to contribute significantly to the enhancement of children's development and capacity for learning from their earliest years. Research continues to expand this knowledge base, and international studies confirm that good preschool programmes improve children's health and nutrition status as well as their mental and psychosocial development.
While there has been increasing interest in the process of becoming a teacher,very little attention has been paid to the process of becoming a teacher educator. Yet teachers of teachers go through the same process as teachers and experience similar influences that shape the kind of teacher educator they become. Important aspects of the learning process for teacher educators include becoming sensitive to their role and the special responsibilities entailed.
The focus of this paper is on the importance of investing in early childhood education in Jamaica as a strategy for developing quality human capital in support of nation building. The paper highlights national and Caribbean perspectives on early childhood education and development and the experience of investing resources in ECED in the context of severe budgetary constraints and increasing social demands.
The primary goal of teacher preparation programmes is to enable prospective teachers to develop the capacity and capability to support schools in the important mission of developing children and optimizing their learning outcomes. It is often assumed that the “trained” teacher will possess the skills to achieve this goal by the end of the pre-service training experience. This has been a very controversial topic in teacher education literature.
In 1990, a new three-year diploma programme in Early Childhood Education was introduced by the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE) into selected teachers colleges in Jamaica. This initiative arose out of a national concern for the status of early childhood education, highlighted by a comprehensive evaluation of the early childhood system undertaken by Sir Hugh Springer and a team of researchers. The Springer Report (1984) drew attention to the in-appropriate teaching strategies and learning environments to which young children were exposed.
This paper assumes that the preparation, orientation and induction of new teacher educators who teach prospective teachers is as important as the preparation of prospective teachers, and is thus worthy of careful scrutiny and analysis.
There needs to be a balance between a child-centred and teacher-directed approach in education, where the learner is seen as a candle to be lit rather than a container to be filled.
(Jonathan Stephens 1995:13)
In the past two decades, the demand for early childhood care and education has intensified orldwide. This demand has been influenced by rapidly changing social and demographic conditions. In the Caribbean region as elsewhere, more women are participating in the labour force for economic reasons: in two-parent families, rising cost of living and economic aspirations increasingly put pressure on both parents to work; single female heads of households have little option but to work in order to support their families.