UNICEF supports Professional Learning Communities in pre-school education
As part of the social and emotional learning programme pre-school teachers advance collaboration and professional development
Skopje, 28 February 2022: UNICEF and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy are launching a new initiative to increase pre-school teachers’ practical skills on how to create and sustain Professional Learning Communities to advance their professional development and further enhance the learning and development of children. Over 200 teacher leaders are participating in a series of 36 capacity-building workshops over the course of February and March.
“Parenting and quality pre-school education are the two key factors that can influence children’s wellbeing and development. Early childhood experiences, including experiences in pre-school education, have lifelong effects on the cognitive, emotional and social development of the child,” said Artur Ayvazov, UNICEF Deputy Representative.
Through the workshops, the preschool teachers will be offered conceptual framework and practical experience in the implementation of the key elements of Professional Learning Communities: a collaborative culture with a focus on learning for all; collective inquiry into best practice and current realities; learning by doing; a commitment to continuous improvement; and results orientation. A team of experts coordinated by the Macedonian Civic Education Centre is leading the process.
“With this very effective and fundamentally important programme we are finally touching one of the central themes – how to create and sustain a professional community. I sincerely hope we will keep the continuity and be persistent in the implementation of this process throughout. I felt during the workshop that there is a hope and that we can advance our profession,” wrote one of the participants in her evaluation of the first workshop.
Rather than being a model, the Professional Learning Communities are designed as an ongoing process that will ensure continuous improvement of teaching practices by ongoing involvement of staff in in-depth, systematic, collaborative activities of professional development at the preschool. The ultimate goal of the Professional Learning Communities is to establish a school culture that promotes children’s learning through shared values, norms, and expectations among pre-school teachers and caregivers.
The establishment of Professional Learning Communities complements the ongoing programme on social and emotional development focusing not just on the wellbeing and development of children at preschools, but also equally on the wellbeing and development of teachers, as a key factor for student outcomes. Through the programme, which is embedded in the national Early Learning and Development Curriculum, in the last three years 1336 pre-school teachers received training and four months of continuous peer support and mentorship from a core group of 190 teacher leaders.
The social and emotional learning programme is supported by UNICEF in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and is funded by UK government as part of the “Foundations for the Future” programme.
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.