“A great Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) teacher knows how to connect the head with the heart of learning. Just believe you can do it and begin…” Wendy Griffin has just returned home after three years volunteering as a preschool programme adviser with the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET).
Those words lead a suite of publications and resources she helped develop to be used in the Ministry and in classrooms to support a sector that was devastated after Cyclone Pam destroyed 80% of kindergartens in 2015.
Wendy’s work, over three years, has been aimed at making children central to education policy, and ensuring ECCE is mainstreamed across education. Within MoET, she has worked to ensure kindergarten rebuilds are done strategically, with centres attached to primary schools, parents involved as champions and first teachers, and ECCE is mainstreamed. The Teachers College has begun to develop a Diploma and Bachelors degree in ECCE – Wendy has even challenged the ECCE unit at MoET to establish a crèche for its working parents.
As the end of her three years approached, Wendy said “ECCE has suddenly moved so fast – we were able to unite all for ECCE, raise the profile in the Ministry and have the Ministers on board and enthusiastic.”
Serah Vurobaravu, ECCE curriculum officer at MoET, says “Wendy’s knowledge and wisdom has contributed significantly to the work of ECCE in Vanuatu and will always be treasured.”
Investment in early childhood learning is seen as one of the most effective ways to achieve good development outcomes for entire nations. In Vanuatu, Wendy says “early childhood education was hiding in a crabhole. Now it’s out in the sunshine.”
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