ECE-CP Terms 2 and 3

In January 2013 Term 2 of the ECE-CP was already in full swing. Hands-on learning and theories in the Play
ECE-CP-300x177Experiences course makes almost immediate sense to students and is applicable to the classroom right away. As soon as they realize that play and active learning really works! History and Philosophy, always makes students turn up their noses, reminding them of boring history lessons when they were in school themselves, that is, until they find out that history can actually be taught in an interesting and engaging way, especially when it is the history of one’s
chosen profession. Debating objectivity and subjectivity during the Observation and Assessment course brings many challenges until they ECE-CP2get it “right”.

Term 3 commenced in April and ended on June 21, with four courses: Understanding Families and Child Abuse, Professional Practices, Health Nutrition and Hygiene and Field Education Seminars. A period of hectic activity especially for our in-service students, with end of term winding down, report cards and parent teacher meetings in school … and at TRC-IECE, lots of exciting group projects, not so exciting assignments and classes kept everyone on their toes till the end. The time ended with mixed feelings and everyone felt that the 10 months had
cake_surprise-300x217 gone by so quickly. Soon the students of 2012-13 will be filling out Alumni forms and hopefully attending study circles and other Alumni activities.

What a Surprise on June 21, 2013!

It was the last day of the ECE-CP 2012-13. During the tea break, the students surprised us with flowers, thank you cards and a beautiful, yummy, thoughtful and touching tribute to TRC-IECE.

TRC-IECE Reunion 2013

TRC-IECE Alumni reunited on Friday, March 29, 2013 at TRC’s premises. The event was organised by IECE Alumni, Sahar
IECE_Reunion-300x192 Tanweer, Shaheen Mehboob and Sara Alqera. Sahar managed all the email invites three weeks prior to the event and made telephone confirmations too. Twenty-eight alumni from different cohorts along with IECE Academic Advisor, Mahenaz Mahmud attended the event. The reunion brought an opportunity for the graduates to reconnect with all the alumni and get to know about each other’s professional and personal life.

Shaheen welcomed the participants and shared the agenda. It was a very interactive session as everyone engaged in a discussion on raising awareness about Early Childhood Education and promoting TRC- IECE. The use of social media was one of the most recommended strategies for this purpose as was having presentations and interactive sessions at T2F. The alumni suggested different strategies and many of them displayed enthusiasm about participating in the different activities. They also shared ideas about updating the TRC-IECE page on Facebook and making it more informative and interactive. It was also mutually decided to revive the Study Circles to update IECE graduates on current issues and research in ECE.

Sara put together an amazing range of refreshments for which all the alumni had contributed a nominal amount. There was much fun and laughter that evening at TRC-IECE.

TRC-IECE Alumni Study Circle 2013 – 1

A study circle titled ‘Toddlers who lie will do better’ was held on April 13, 2013 at TRC-IECE. The Study Circle for IECE Alumni, which started a couple of years ago, has been handed over to the Alumni. It was the first study circle organised by them. A total of 11 alumni and Mahenaz Mahmud, Academic Programme Advisor attended the session.

The objective behind these sessions is to keep IECE Alumni updated on issues faced by teachers and to discuss current research topics of relevance to them. As usual the reading material for ‘Toddlers who lie will do better’, was circulated a week before the meeting. According to research, children with better cognitive abilities who can tell the ‘best’ lies have developed ‘executive functioning’, which means they are able to keep the truth at the back of their mind, so their fib sounds more convincing. Margaret McAllister, a leading educational psychologist, said, “Just because a child is bright I don’t think they are more likely to lie. But if they do, they will lie better and tell more complicated lies.”

The Study Circle participants shared their views and experiences and after a productive debate reached the conclusion that there is no right or wrong answer. What the children are saying at age two is not really a ‘lie’. It varies from child to child and also depends on their age, culture and environment.

The next study circle will be held on June 22, 2013 and the topic suggested by one of the IECE graduates was ‘At what age should children start going to school?’ Now that schools have started taking children at 18 months as well, the others agreed that it is a pertinent issue.

Open Day at TRC-IECE

On May 21, 2013 TRC’s hallways were buzzing with people keen and eager to find out about the Early Childhood Education Certificate Programme that is offered by the TRC-Institute of Early Childhood Education (TRC-IECE). The event was organised to welcome guests in two different time slots: 11:00 – 1:00 and 3:00 – 5:00.

The visitors attending the event comprised of teachers, lead teachers, coordinators, supervisors, headmistresses and vice principals who represented both the public and private sectors. During the presentation, participants were given a peek into some of the diverse TRC-IECE classroom sessions. The morning group were shown a gallery display, in which participants got a flavour of the nature of the classes, while those attending the afternoon slot had the opportunity to observe such a class in action.

On display were some of the group projects and assignments developed by the students over the years. Attendees were impressed by the nature and quality of the assessments and evaluations at TRC-IECE. There was a stream of enquiries about the logistics and delivery of the programme. Conversation with IECE alumni and the graduates’ testimonials left a wonderful impression on the visitors.

ECE-CP 2013-14 Admission Interviews

June 12, 14 and 19, 2013 were days when there were no classes and TRC-IECE faculty were busy interviewing students for the next cohort of ECE-CP students. Some nervous and some not-so-nervous candidates completed a 40-minute written ‘test’ followed by a 20-minute interview. Selected students were offered a place on the programme a week later. We have three places remaining and are still accepting admission forms. Another round of interviews will be held in August this year.

TRC-IECE Students Hold an Awareness Campaign on Child Abuse

On June 19, 2013, students of the seventh cohort of the Early Childhood Education Certificate
poster12-300x228Programme organised a campaign to raise awareness on Child Abuse. What started off as an individual assignment for the Understanding Families & Child Abuse course, changed a week before it was due, to a group presentation on students’ request.

The students wanted to do a real campaign to spread their newly acquired knowledge on child abuse. They planned to share this knowledge with their school colleagues, family members, parents and anyone who interacts with children.

All the students geared up to work on the campaign. Roles and responsibilities were assigned and deadlines set. From making posters and brochures, to designing invitation cards and cloth bags for
poster21-300x212participants, writing up a plan for the entire event and doing the research and preparing a Power point presentation to organising refreshments for participants, all tasks and targets were delegated or taken on based on students’ strengths … no one slacked off. Based on what they were involved in, students put in late nights, extra days at TRC-IECE and at each other’s homes.Child_Abuse-300x199

All this resulted in a coordinated and well-executed campaign on the big day where parents, colleagues, friends and others in the audience lauded their efforts in highlighting the criticality of this issue. The students’ confidence was evident in their demeanour and in the ease with which they addressed and handled the audience and needless to say, they were awarded a good grade for this group project.

Hats off to the class of 2012 – 13!

TRC-IECE Alumni Study Circle 2013 – 2

A study circle titled ‘At what age should children start schooling?’ was held on June 28, 2013 at TRC-IECE. It was the second study circle in 2013, organised by the IECE Alumni. A total number of 10 Alumni and Mahenaz Mahmud, Academic Programme Advisor attended the session.

This time no pre-reading material was sent to the group and everyone was required to conduct some independent research. The participants shared their findings and given that not much information was available on the Internet, much of the discussion was based on unique cultural aspects.

The participants shared their views and experiences. One said that, ‘Starting school as early as 2.8 is beneficial, because child to child interaction is crucial at a very early stage.’ Another disagreed and said, ‘The home environment is important and schooling should start at 5.’ Still another shared that, ‘Children need to be socially and emotionally mature before they join school.’

Most of the participants agreed that schooling should start by age four. They also agreed that when children are ready for school, they are more likely to succeed than children who struggle and have difficulty keeping up with school rules and with their peers.

The participants came to the conclusion that the decision about when children should start school is difficult as it depends on the child’s age, culture, state policy and environment.

It was also decided that besides updating ourselves about current issues faced by teachers and discussing them in study circles, the alumni group needs to raise awareness amongst parents and teachers. The next study circle will be held on Friday 13 September, 2013 and the topic will be, ‘How important is it to teach phonics in pre-school?’

ECE-CPU Postponed

Over the next couple of months, the TRC team will be working on crystallising ideas for the implementation of the Critical Thinking Programme and ECE Advocacy across provinces. Keeping in view its own team and time allocations, TRC has decided to defer the second round of the ECE-Certificate Programme (Urdu), as the outreach of teacher education as well as ECE Advocacy will be wider through the initiation of OSF supported programmes. For details, please go to the TRC News section and look at the Quarterly News for April – June 2013.

Students attend SEF ECE Seminar as Part of the Professional Practices (PP 0002) Course

On June 13, 2013, all ECE-CP (2012-13) students attended SEF’s ECE seminar along with course leaders. Academic
ECE_Seminar_21-300x230Coordinator /Faculty, Mahenaz Mahmud was invited as a panellist and she agreed, even though it was a class day, because SEF had agreed to all the students attending; needless to say they were really excited about the opportunity to attend a “real” seminar. Course credit hours for PP 0002 were transferred to the seminar.

Mahenaz asked the class who would like to present on her behalf and a spunky young student, Maha Laka volunteered;
Maha_Laka-300x224 right to the end she maintained that she was not nervous The TRC presentation focussed on the Principles of a Quality ECE Programme (National ECE Curriculum: 2007), which is equally applicable to private and public sector schools. The presentation was wrapped up within the allocated time; it was designed to be interactive at the end, with a couple of True and False questions to the entire audience, about DAP.

There was so much excitement amongst the students about the presentation and all of them kind of ‘owned’ it. Maha Laka and her parents were thrilled about the news item in the Dawn the next day. Click here if you’d like to read it:

The following week, on June 21, during the last Professional Practices course the seminar was dissected and analysed in terms of effectiveness, speakers and impact on audience. All the grading rubrics we had used for the umpteen assignments they had had to complete and the feedback for each one, had also taught them well … they were truly constructively critical with a rationale for each claim.