The first meeting of the Bonaire Pedagogical Network took place on 20 August. Directors and managers from childcare centres, after-school care and primary education were well-represented, as were policy officers from various Public Entity of Bonaire (OLB) services and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). Via the Pedagogical Network the BES(t) 4 kids program wants to achieve proper cooperation and coordination with partners in childcare and education, with the aim being to improve quality.
Pedagogical vision under development
During the meeting, the focus was primarily on the process of creating and implementing a BES Childcare Act and the consequences of this new legislation for all stakeholders. It is very important that work is carried out on the basis of a pedagogical vision and that childcare and schools work together properly. Under the leadership of UNICEF a great deal of preparatory work has already been done with a view to creating a common pedagogical vision for each island. This process can be completed quickly by coordinating this pedagogical vision from the childcare organisations with the school plans of the primary education. A digital consultation would also be an obvious way to proceed, followed by a session in which the final concept is formulated and submitted to government.
Cooperation between childcare and schools
The draft legislation imposes requirements relating to a continuous development and learning pathway, the monitoring of children and a smooth transition from childcare to primary school. This requires close cooperation between childcare and schools, using a program for preschool and early school education [voorschoolse en vroegschoolse educatie] (vve). On Bonaire a decision has been made to use the Highscope (Kaleidoscoop) program in childcare, and this is being introduced on a limited scale. The education sector has also indicated that it is positive about the introduction of Highscope (Kaleidoscoop) in years 1 and 2.
The training for this program is being set up by SHiF, which is the program licence holder on Bonaire. Currently 10 trainers are being trained to organise the training and coaching in practice.
Monitoring the transition to school
In order to ensure a smooth transition from childcare to school, children’s development has to be monitored so that they can be offered suitable activities whenever necessary. That is why uniform observation systems and handover forms are needed to inform schools, with their parents’ permission, about new pupils. Development delays can also be tackled at an early stage with the right interventions or referrals to specialists. With this in mind a care structure is to be set up.
Cooperation between schools and after-school care
Lastly, better cooperation is being advocated between schools and after-school care centres [buitenschoolse opvang] (BSO). After-school care centres can support the education sector by, for example, highlighting the same themes, organising extra language activities and focusing on developing talent. The development of integral children’s centres [integrale kindcentra] (IKC) can strengthen the cooperation process. After all, initiatives are already in place at integral children centres to create a common pedagogical vision and coordination between childcare and school.
In view of the considerable turnout and the large number of responses from participants, there is certainly a need for follow-up meetings of the Pedagogical Network.