SKOPJE, 16 May 2019 - During his visit to North Macedonia, His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex visited children at one of the kindergartens where UNICEF and the United Kingdom Government are working together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy to introduce new innovative ways to develop children’s socio-emotional skills and resilience.
The collaboration is part of a UK funded and UNICEF supported programme - Foundations for the Future: Building a positive, value based and inclusive society - that aims to improve policies and practices on social cohesion and diversity in the country.
“There is a growing consensus that social and emotional intelligence is one of the strongest influences on personal development and life achievement for individuals and on social cohesion and cultural dialogue for society,” said British Ambassador, Rachel Galloway. “Developing these foundational skills are known to have a long-term impact on educational attainment and on lessening disaffection and discriminatory behaviour as children grow into adolescence and beyond.”
During the visit, His Royal Highness had the opportunity to engage with the children in new play-based activities being introduced to help them develop skills to recognise, express and manage a wide range of emotions and activities to teach children how their brains work. The programme is also introducing new ways to stimulate focus, impulse control, self-respect and self-confidence, social awareness and relationship skills – skills important for establishing healthy relationships in life and for their own emotional well-being.
“This programme builds on the latest developments in science showing that children’s ability to learn and solve problems, think critically and creatively, make decisions, focus and form healthy relationships are controlled by their emotional wellbeing,” said UNICEF Representative, Benjamin Perks. “It’s pioneering new ways to help children develop the social-emotional skills and the resilience they need to learn and be productive citizens as teenagers and adults.”
Recognizing the importance of holistic early childhood development, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy has started an expansive reform to increase access to quality pre-school education in the country. With funds from the British Government, UNICEF is supporting efforts focused on quality by creating new opportunities for pre-school teachers’ professional development in applying new methods and strategies to support holistic child development and learning, and by creating an online one-stop shop of resources for teachers and parents.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.