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Fri 23rd Jul 2021

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SVG needs free, state-funded preschool system for our children

In light of the revelations by an SVG teacher that many children in SVG cannot read, Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BS (hons), MSc, MBA recommends that SVG creates a state-funded preschool education system which all our children can use from the age of 3 years old.

Preschools are important in helping create a solid education foundation for when children enter primary school. Preschool help get children school-ready through a variety of activities.

In preschool, children learn to strengthen their social and emotional development. Children learn how to compromise, be respectful and problem solve. Preschool provides an environment for children to explore, gain a sense of self, play with peers and build self-confidence.

Behaviour management is a major part of preschool learning. In preschool, children learn how to be students. Children learn patience, how to raise their hands and take turns. Children also learn how to share the teacher's attention.

Children also learn about routine, following directions and waiting. Quality preschools help children find answers through exploration, experimentation, and conversation.

In pre-school pre-math and pre-literacy skills are introduced. Children are taught numbers and letters, but it is taught in a way that is appealing to children at that age. Children sing an alphabet song while following along in a picture book or learn rhymes and chants, which help them to notice the distinct sounds within words.

Teachers read stories to children to encourage their listening, comprehension, and expressive language skills. Matching games, sorting games and counting games build children’s understanding of numbers, and sequences. Putting puzzles together encourages children to notice patterns and to work on problem-solving skills.

Children learn best through activities they find interesting, such as songs, storytime, and imaginative play. Preschool is not about achieving academic success; it is about creating a well-round child who wants to explore and question their surroundings and becomes ready to attend and cope with primary school.

SVG should invest millions of dollars and create a nationwide, standardised preschool system that is free for all. Too many children in SVG leave primary school unable to read or simply dropout of primary school because they struggle. This consigns them to a lifetime of poverty and makes them more likely to fall into criminal trouble.

Many children in SVG have been failed by the inadequate education system and the lack of access to free preschool.

Early childhood is an important phase of development which includes physical, social/emotional, and linguistic/cognitive development, strongly affecting mental and physical health, literacy and numeracy skills and life success.

What happens to a child in the early years is crucial to the trajectory of their development and education. This part of our children’s development and education has been badly neglected in SVG. Every child in SVG should have access to free preschool from the age of 3 years old. This is best for the child and best for our nation.

SVG needs change for this to happen.

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