Teachers Sylvia Isidore of the Ti Rocher Castries Primary School and Valarie Kerr-Davis of the Carmen Rene Memorial School

Keywords: Preschool Teachers, Professional Development, Pre-K Screening

About the Project

The two primary school teachers considered some of the challenges that their students with reading that they observed in their classrooms. They believed that these challenges stemmed from the preschool years, particularly with the development of phonological awareness in students. Preschool teachers, they believed, would benefit from similar professional development that is being offered to other educators in the system. These teachers require support and resources to empower them and to increase their competence in early childhood education, especially in areas related to developing phonological awareness in students.

The teachers pursuing this opportunity space anticipated increased competencies of these teachers in early childhood development, which would ultimately impact learning in the future grades.

Project Progress

The team spoke with pre-K and Grade K teachers. Although Pre-K teachers say that they do develop phonological awareness skills in students, they also admitted that they wanted more support. This feedback supported the team’s view that there is a need to engage preschool teachers in deliberate, consistent, and continuous professional development to enable them to equip students with the relevant prerequisite skills, at the preschool level.
The team further examined the Grade K curriculum, as well as Pre-K screening data to identify gaps between the two levels. They subsequently shared areas identified by the assessment that can be improved with preschools, so that these skills are developed adequately. Sylvia and Valarie connected with the Special Education and Early Childhood Units, with amazing results.

Prototyping a Solution

The teacher team, with data from their own research, and with feedback from the Special Education and Early Childhood Education Units, designed and prototyped a two-hour PD session with Preschool teachers. As part of the prototype, they collected feedback on preschool teachers’ perceptions of this kind of support, all of which pointed to a desire and need for continuing professional development.

Team Reflection on their Innovation Experience

This teacher duo presented on their experience at the Caribbean Education Innovation Forum on March 7, 2023. One of the insights they shared was the value of applying a human centered lens throughout their work. They commented on the assumptions they made that needed to be explored before a possible solution could be tested. Valarie mentioned that they at times needed to “go back to the drawing board” when they realized, from user data, that their assumptions were incorrect.