Learning through play, even for adults!

Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD)Practitioners for young children

May Thet Thet Oo (Liza)
©UNICEF Myanmar

20 June 2019

One early morning in May, screams, shouts, singing and animal noises came from a classroom. It sounded like an unruly crowd of children – but it was adults. They were taking part in a role play, singing nursery rhymes and playing games.

Some took the role of cooperative children, others disruptive ones, while another group observed the acting. Afterwards all the participants came together for a lively group discussion on how well they managed the ‘lesson’ of young children.

The intensive training was held at The Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Resource Centre in Yangon under the Department of Social Welfare from 20 to 31 May.

“This is one of the trainings where I could link practices with theories,” said one of the senior early learning practitioners who participated in the workshop. “The facilitator highlighted how well children learn when they are happy, and how well the brain develops when stimulated during play.”

The training was implemented by the Department of Social Welfare with technical support from UNICEF. Of the 32 workshop participants, 21 were early childhood care and development (ECCD) practitioners from the department of social welfare across Myanmar and 11 from both international and local non-governmental organizations, and community-based organizations.

Apart from interactive teaching methods – 50 in all – the practitioners learnt about the new early childhood intervention (ECI) services which screen young children for early developmental delays or disabilities and support them to reach their developmental potential. This is carried out mainly by giving advice to parents or other caregivers at home about developmentally-appropriate practices which they can do while carrying out their daily routines at home.

The training is part of a preparatory phase for piloting a three-month ECCD course to be implemented by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement from July to October 2019. The three-month course aims to upgrade ECCD practitioners’ training in Myanmar to a professional level that qualifies it for licensing by the National Skills Standards Authority under the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population and allows it to be recognized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The participants on the three-month course will use a new ECCD curriculum which will be composed of 12 modules including child development, child health and nutrition, inclusion of all children, child observation and assessments, and the importance of families and community involvement in early learning.

The senior early learning practitioner participant of the two-week intensive training said there is valuable information to share with her colleagues. “We learnt a lot of updates about neuroscience and child development - it really refreshed our souls and minds,” she said.