Petter St. Jean
Petter St. Jean

To reinforce the role in which sports officers play in creating Child Friendly Schools (CFS) the Ministry of Education hosted a one-day workshop this week.

Sports teachers from secondary schools along with sports officials in the Sports Division attended the workshop on March 15 at the Dominica Public Service Union.

Chief Education Officer Melena Fontaine said that the Child Friendly School initiative was initially implemented in September 2009.

She said that the ministry started the initiative as a pilot programme with 10 schools; however, the ministry decided to continue the initiative after it realized that schools were implementing the principles and practices and reporting success.

"When we talk about child friendly schools we actually talking about effective schools. The research has shown us that there are nine indicators that we are looking for to enable us to say that a particular school is an effective school," said Fontaine.

She noted that within effective school high standards and expectations are expected for all students irrespective of their capabilities.

Therefore, the Ministry of Education believes that all children can learn and all children can perform up to their maximum potential.

Fontaine added that within child friendly schools the ministry is looking at strong school leadership with leaders who create a school culture that is always conducive to learning.

"It is a place where curriculum, instruction and assessment are all aligned with state's standards," she said. "Today we are putting structures in placeā€¦It is important that all stakeholders in the education system receive focused professional development so they... you can be supported within the student's learning environment," she said.

Fontaine said participants of the workshop would understand that within an education system that is child friendly, everything that is done has to be in the best interest of the child.

Meanwhile, Consultant of the workshop Stephenson Hyacinth, said that "Child Friendly Schools really is not a matter of choice it is the decision you have to make to ensure that the environment is child friendly."

He said the workshop would focus on areas where the teachers and officials could acknowledge the skills, attitudes that will enable a child to be a well-rounded individual.

Hyacinth said the workshop would discuss the rights of a child.