Morris-Julian: ECCE teachers eager to go back out to work

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister in the Ministry of Education Lisa Morris-Julian, Photo by Roger Jacob

Minister in the Ministry of Education Lisa Morris-Julian has said Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) teachers are eager to return to the physical classroom.

Morris-Julian spoke briefly to Newsday in a phone interview on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the ministry made several announcements on the reopening of schools.

It said ECCE students, along with standards 1-4 students, will resume physical attendance, on a rotation basis, in April.

“The virus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon,” Morris-Julian said. “(Teachers) have been doing an excellent job. Parents have been doing an excellent job. (But) we are losing far more than we should.”

She knows parents will have concerns about physical distancing, she said, but every precaution will be taken.

She said the outreach for ECCE students has been well-received. The ministry has been engaging students via radio, television, and YouTube programmes.

“What people seem to forget is, this is the time where (children) learn the most about socialisation. This generation is adaptable and resilient.

She added, “I have a three-year-old and he will be attending classes. This is not a scenario where I don’t know the risks.

“It is important for me that he gets into the socialisation process again.”

The ministry will continue to work with teachers if they have concerns, she said.

Kimberly Joseph, a special education tutor, told Newsday in a brief interview she does not agree ECCE students are ready to return to the physical classroom.

Joseph, who teaches children with special needs at all levels, said, “It’s a no for me, especially with the rise of cases and deaths.”

She said with that age group of children there will always be concerns about physical distancing.

“They are always touching their face. You still have to talk to that age group.

“When you hear of children who pass away (from covid19), there will be parents who are scared to send their babies out there.”

She said while she understands children miss interacting with one another, she is sceptical about how the plan will be rolled out.