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Critical skills for children

Minister of Education Patricia Gordon-Pamplin

The Bermuda Government’s Early Childhood Education Inquiry will ultimately give young schoolchildren “the critical skills necessary to effectively compete in the global economy,” according to Patricia Gordon-Pamplin.

The home affairs minister told MPs that the programme — to be introduced into preschools and primary schools — was intended to ensure that children would be positioned for the opportunities that may come their way in the future. During the past year technical officers in the Department of Education have been working with teachers, parents and the community to inform, establish and implement the inquiry framework for teaching and learning in preschool and lower primary school levels.

“I take this opportunity to share the concept of the Early Childhood Education Inquiry Model, what steps have been taken to introduce and implement this framework and the anticipated effects for children and their learning,” Ms Gordon-Pamplin told the House of Assembly on Friday. “My colleagues may recall that in 2013 this Government called for the modernisation and transformation of Early Childhood Education in Bermuda through the Inclusive and Special Education Discussion Paper.

“The Inquiring Minds Framework recognises that young children are learning every day. Like scientists, children are researching their world. They ask big and important questions, such as: Why do dogs wag their tails, do they have feelings like us? Is a slug a snail without a shell? How do trees drink, do they have a tongue? and, What is two tens?”

Ms Gordon-Pamplin explained the Inquiring Minds Framework model, introduced in public schools in 2015, builds on the natural curiosity and questions of young children.

It provides for an overview of the strategies that teachers will use in the classroom such as:

• creating a culture that builds on children’s questions and informal knowledge;

• providing rigorous problems that foster inquiry;

• posing higher level questions to challenge children in their thinking and;

• providing opportunities for children to engage in small group investigations to deeply probe and then share.