Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Resources for Early Childhood Education

Not enough people know that nestled in the back of the National Centre for Educational Resource Development in Kingston, Georgetown was a nursery school teacher's paradise. We were so impressed with what we saw that we could not resist paying a visit and sharing what we discovered with everyone.

The resource area had been developed by Mrs Florence Sukhdeo, National Curriculum and Materials Advisor who worked for BEAMS. Mrs Sukhdeo had a wealth of experience as a teacher, teacher trainer, university lecturer and advisor. The room was full of resources which were within the capabilities of any teacher to make and which, she was proud to say, she had either made herself or had commissioned from one of her many students all over the world that she had taught over her impressive years of service.

"I make and display the resources so that when a teacher sees them, she will immediately know what they are for and be able to make them herself." But, they were not classic home made resources that look home made. They were produced from all kinds of materials that were readily available in teachers' homes and which were often thrown away. With an emphasis on colour, shape, size and potential for the teaching of spatial awareness, Mrs Sukhdeo selected her odds and ends and turned them into practical learning resources which would serve well in the classroom for many generations of children. One of her successes were the big books she produced which highlighted cultural practices in Guyana whilst at the same time teaching children the basics of reading. Some of these were printed by Guyana Book Foundation with support from two Canadian based organisations CODE and CIDA as well as others from the BEAMS Programme (Basic Education Access and Management Support).

She had an eye for detail and was keen that teachers would replicate what they saw in their own classrooms. We wanted to show her talents to a greater audience through Mrs Sukhdeo was passionate about nursery children and was keen to ensure that all had a standard of education equal to the best. She didn't want to see nursery classrooms cluttered with display and resources just to decorate the room but felt that they should be true learning aids appropriate to the age, development and maturity of the children. Displays needed to be changed regularly and link with what is being taught at a particular time.

In Guyana, nursery education consists of the following:
Year One - Age 3.9 - 4.9 years
Year Two - Age 4.9 - 5.9 years

Children then graduate to primary school where they are "infants" in Grades One and Two.
Of course, all of the materials displayed, suitably adapted, are appropriate also for the older age range. A positive and rich learning environment is essential at all levels from nursery to secondary. A science classroom in a secondary school needs to look like science is fun and enjoyable just as much as a primary classroom needs to motivate the children teaching them that learning is not only fun but a critical life skill.

Mrs Sukhdeo, who sadly has passed away now, we applaud you for your tenacity and your ability to share your wealth of experience, passing on your valuable knowledge to a new generation of teachers.

You can view all of the resources in Mrs Sukhdeo's room by clicking on the picture below. When you have the pictures in front of you, you can make them larger by using the slide bar at the top.

"From bottle tops to big books and bunnies to benabs,
Mrs Sukhdeo had it all!"
If you would like to find out more about classroom display in a previous article,


Anonymous said...

Mrs Sukhdeo,
It is encouraging to see how normally discarded household items are put to use in such a useful and practical way. Your displays are impressive. Congratulations on your dedication, perseverance and good work. The nursery school teachers are fortunate to have such good resources at hand as education is a continuous effort throughout one's lifetime. To be meaningful education has to be practical to use resources at hand. The bridges that have sprung up during nursery school years get stronger and longer with continued nurturing as we grow, age and mature into adulthood. I want to thank you for all your hard work and efforts Mrs. Sukhdeo. Sharing knowledge gained is one of the best contributions that one can make in this world. The world needs more people like you and your team. Kudos to you!!

~Grace Wheeler - Toronto

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs Sukhdeo !
I have tears of joy in my eyes as I read an view all the work that you are still doing.I am so thankful to have had you as my lecture.You are the most amazing lectures who really made a big difference in my life and many others.All of your teachings through Teacher's Collage & university I am practicing here at my school!Guyana is blessed to have a dedicated,caring and innovative person who certainly have a wealth of knowledge in the Education system. Thank you so much for sending me the web site.I will share with the my colleagues.Congratulation!I miss you!
Andrea ( Toronto Canada)

Anonymous said...

My Dearest ! One can really say that hard work and determination is really working for you. You are still as sweet and charming ! God really has his created hands on you preserving you for all the new teachers coming into the field! Keep sweet!