An Update on the TRC-Institute of ECE: April – June 2014

ECE-CP term activities

The quarter saw the end of last two terms of the programme which kept the staff and faculty diligently busy with wrap-up tasks. The final field observations were also carried out by the Field Supervising Teachers (TRC-IECE Academic Advisor and faculty members) and these were followed by post visit discussions with students.

Recruiting students for ECE-CP 2014-15

Admissions to the ECE-CP 2014-15 formally opened on May 2, 2014 with admission forms and schedule announced on the website. A series of inquiries from interested candidates followed which was managed by the staff. Based on the scrutiny of registered candidates, written tests and interviews were held in June. The candidates were duly informed about the selection or rejection decision. We are still accepting applications for the new batch and the second round of interviews will be held in August 2014.

Open day: ECE-CP 2014-2015

An open day was organised at TRC on May 19, 2014 to showcase its Early Childhood Education Certificate Programme (ECE-CP). The purpose was to introduce the programme in detail and facilitate interaction of the potential candidates with the faculty. The open day sessions were held in two time slots, between 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, to allow both in-service and non-teaching candidates to attend. A number of visitors from different walks of life attended the event; teachers, coordinators, fresh graduates aspiring to be teachers and even seasoned teachers who were looking for a comeback to the profession. Through a gallery of displays, the visitors were walked through the ECE-CP classroom giving them a sense of what to expect from the programme. Visitors who opted to come in the second half had the opportunity to observe a class in session. The testimonials from some of the alumni members, who volunteered to be present at the occasion, inspired the candidates to opt for registration. The open day was well received by all those who attended and provided insights into what the 10-month journey would look like in terms of its academic rigour, diversity of approaches and relationship with the faculty.

Open Day at TRC – IECE

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An Update on the TRC-Institute of ECE: January – March 2014

ECE-CP Term Activities

Term 2 of ECE-CP progressed as per the Academic Calendar. Weekly planning, preparation, post session reviews and assessment of student assignments and projects continued.

TRC-IECE Reunion 2014

The TRC-IECE Alumni Reunion was held on March 14, 2014 at TRC. A total of 18 alumni members from differentbatches attended. Both faculty and alumni got an opportunity to reconnect, find out how everyone has grown and progressed after graduating from IECE and discuss possibilities of how alumni members can get involved and contribute meaningfully for institutional strengthening of IECE. It was an informal, fun-filled gathering and those who did not attend for various reasons were thoroughly missed.

An Update on the TRC-Institute of ECE: July – December 2013

The ECE-CP 2012-2013 Concludes

During the quarter, as the final term drew to a close, wrap-up activities were in full swing. Faculty members were occupied with compilation of results and preparation and handing over of transcripts, field education reports, journals and feedback on final assignments to the graduating class. Along with bringing the term to a close, TRC-IECE members were managing the full-scale process of new intake for 2013-2014. This entailed coordinating with the shortlisted applicants, scheduling for written tests and panel interviews and the final run-up leading to selection of students for the new batch.

With the student body selected for the 2013-2014 cohort, classrooms were set up, display boards creatively done and other logistic preparations were made for the first term tee off. Prior to the orientation, student handbooks and academic calendars were also reviewed and updated.

Welcoming the 8th Cohort of TRC-IECE

TRC-IECE ushered in its 8th cohort of ambitious and enthusiastic in-service and pre-service students on September7, 2013. The orientation was organized at the TRC-IECE premises and was a curtain raiser to the commencement of the certification programme. Ms. Seema Malik, Director, TRC formally welcomed the new batch and introduced IECE, faculty members and administrative staff. She emphasized on the institutional norms of upholding standards of excellence and professionalism and encouraged the students to adopt the same since they will be part of TRC-IECE for the next ten months to come and even longer as members of the alumni. Ms. Uzma Rauf, faculty member, provided a run-down of academic and administrative aspects, touched upon logistic requirements and in-house facilitation mechanisms and responded to specific queries raised by the students during the discussion. The new batch members were also encouraged to breeze through their sets of academic calendars, Student Handbook and Academic Skills’ Guide, which were handed over to them during the orientation. Students were also shown the ropes as far as Field Education Course is concerned, since it is a part of all three terms, and differing requirements for in-service and pre-service students were highlighted.

Towards the end of the orientation, students visited the TRC library to collect their textbooks and library cards and interacted with faculty members present for questions and information that they had for the upcoming classes.

The First Term Commences

The 2013-2014 session officially began on September 9, 2013 with the Play Experiences course. The other courses for Term 1 are Child Development and Learning Environment, classes for which will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Adieu, Class of 2012-2013

The most awaited event of the year for the class of 2012-2013 dawned amidst much fervour and nostalgia. The graduation ceremony for the 7th batch of TRC-IECE was held on September 28, 2013 at the TRC premises and was attended by the graduating batch and their families. In a small yet statuesque gathering, the certificates were awarded to the successful students who had braved the academic pressures while coping with the often-strenuous job and household routines during the ten-month long programme. The 18 graduates beamed with pride of being IECE certified early childhood educators beginning their new journeys to make a difference in the lives of children they will teach.

The memorable ceremony started with a warm welcome note by Ms. Seema Malik, Director, TRC who also took the audience down the memory lane and shared the account of TRC’s evolution as a leading teacher education institution as well as creation of IECE as a labour of love to strengthen early years education in Pakistan. TRC’s pioneering work and contribution to addressing the daunting gaps in quality of teacher education in Pakistan especially ECE were also shared. She also welcomed and introduced the chief guest, Dr. Nafisa Shah, Member of the National Assembly, an old friend of TRC and a leading voice in the country for social change. Dr. Shah graciously consented to chair the event despite her hectic schedule.

Ms. Mahenaz Mahmud, Academic Advisor, TRC-IECE briefed the audience about the nature and structure of the ten-month programme. She explained how the ECE-CP helps the student transition from a regular classroom teacher to a professionally trained early childhood educator. She then invited two graduating students, Maha Laka and Nazia Kashif, to represent their group and share some of their experiences of being a part of ECE-CP.

Both graduates narrated a high-spirited account of their association with IECE; this was accentuated with both gratitude and aspiration and reflected how the experience transformed their lives as human beings and teachers. A presentation was also shown to the audience highlighting perspectives of each graduate on how they felt the programme benefitted them. One of the graduates expressed her sentiments in a panoptic phrase, which aptly said, “the ECE-CP changed my life.”

After the presentation, Ms. Mahenaz Mahmud invited the chief guest to give away certificates to the graduating students and say a few words on the occasion. In her address, Dr. Nafisa Shah, congratulated TRC-IECE and the students and their families for successfully completing the course and assuming greater teaching responsibilities as qualified early childhood educators. She spoke at length about the deplorable state of education in the country, touching upon issues of access, quality and gender especially referring to the rural areas and reinforced the need for strengthening institutions like TRC and TRC-IECE to bring about real changes in education offered to our children. She emphasized that education like other sectors is in a state of crisis and urgent steps must be taken by creating synergies through public-private partnerships to address the issues. Dr. Shah also highlighted the impacts recent natural disasters have had on the education infrastructure in the country. She openly appreciated TRC’s pioneering work in ECE which she said is “otherwise marginal and marginalized in the country” and assured the management of her full support for scaling up the institution. She also committed to advocate for TRC whenever needed and urged that TRC must be transformed into a fully equipped teaching college with government’s backing. She was of the view that teachers will be advocates of change in moving towards a tolerant nation.

In the end, Director TRC thanked the audience for attending the ceremony and invited everyone to a scrumptious tea treat bringing the send-off to a cheerful close.

ECE-CP Term Activities

The first term of ECE-CP progressed as per the Academic Calendar throughout the quarter. The faculty kept busy with pre-class weekly planning, preparation, post session reviews and marking student assignments.

Field visits to schools kept the in-service students on their toes and so did the feedback sessions with Field Supervising Teachers who provided detailed critique of students’ on-site performance.

As December drew to a close so did Term 1. Whilst the students and teachers got some respite from the usual class routines, the IECE faculty had their hands full for preparing for the transition to Term 2.

A Great Opportunity for TRC-IECE Alumni

Revitalise your knowledge and understanding of early years education

TRC-IECE is pleased to announce the initiation of refresher courses for its alumni from September 2013.

This step has been taken to meet the overwhelming demand that we receive from our alumni for refreshing core concepts of the courses that they took as part of the comprehensive certification programme.

Through this initiative, the alumni will be able to enrol in their desired courses to refresh what they learnt while they attended the full-fledged ECE-CP.

This will be a great opportunity to reconnect with theory, discuss and share practical experiences gained after graduation and take back learning with fresh perspectives to the field again.

Please note that there are only limited seats available for refresher courses in the coming term. If you’re interested to go back to the IECE class and avail this opportunity, kindly review the instructions provided below.
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For further information regarding what courses are we putting up for the next term and details regarding fee structure and timelines, please visit the following link:

TRC-IECE Alumni Refreshers (2013-14) Details

For registration, please download the Enrolment Form, print and submit it along with the payment at TRC-IECE before the closing dates.

An Update on the TRC-Institute of ECE: January – June 2013

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 Experiences 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 get 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 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 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 CertificateProgramme organised a campaign to raise awareness on Child Abuse. What started off as an individual assignment for theUnderstanding 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 forparticipants, 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.

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. AcademicCoordinator /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;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.

Open Day at TRC – IECE

Admissions open at TRC – IECE

An Update on the TRC-IECE (October-December 2012)

The Class of 2011-12 Graduate

On October 05, 2012 the TRC-IECE hosted the graduation ceremony of its students … existing and aspiring teachers. This was the 6th batch of students to pass out from the Institute, and it was also the year that the programme was piloted in Urdu.

Mr. Randy Hatfield, an old friend of TRC, currently at USAID was the chief guest at the occasion. Mr. Hatfield talked about the power and influence of the teacher and told the graduating class that they were uniquely placed to ‘unlock children’s minds’.

Ms. Seema Malik, Director of TRC spoke at length about the programme and its painstaking development, emphasising that the 10 month course is an academically and professionally rigorous programme that prepares teachers for the classroom and also changes their lives in many ways.

Ms. Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, Chairperson of the Governing body of TRC-IECE said that the institute had a significant purpose. She saluted the teachers as they continued their teaching careers with a new perspective after completing the course.

Ms. Mahenaz Mahmud, Programme Director of the TRC-IECE took the 25 graduating students down memory lane with a heart-warming photographic presentation of their months studying for the course.

This year’s 25 graduates were an interesting mix of teachers ranging from some of who were beginning their careers to one who was a grandmother. Several students spoke on the occasion and talked about how the programme had changed their lives and their understanding of young children and their development.

TRC-IECE Alumni Reunion

The TRC-IECE Alumni Reunion was held on October 31, 2012. The reunion, was organised by Sahar Tanweer and Shaheen Mehboob Ali (ECE-CP 2010-2011 graduates) and was held at Sahar’s residence. A total of 25 alumni and the Academic Coordinator, Mahenaz Mahmud attended the reunion.

The alumni used the occasion to generate ideas on ways to move forward and raise awareness about TRC-IECE and the ECE-CP. The idea of an ECE mela or funfair won the most favour from the group. It was decided that the group would form separate committees for the event, such as a planning committee, an implementing committee and a review committee. The occasion culminated with graduates volunteering to be on the planning committee and committing to work on developing plans for the ‘ECE Mela /Funfair’.

ECE-CP Term Activities

December 13, 2012 marked the end of the first term of the ECE-CP (2012-13). The run-up to the break coincided with the end-of-term activities in school so juggling course work with school activities proved to be quite a challenge for many of our students. Some students were also called in during the break to retake tests and assignments.

Both the pre-service and in-service students welcomed the break, which allowed them to refresh themselves before Term 2 commenced on December 24, 2012. The students returned fresh and ready for new experiences in Term 2.

An Update on the TRC-IECE (July-September 2012)

Review of Courses & Policies

The TRC-Institute of ECE (IECE) faculty were very busy during July and August 2012,doing timely reviews and drafts of course outlines, assignments, updating policies and related documents to transit smoothly into the next session. Some of these documents, such as, the Students’ Handbook and the Academic Skills’ Guide are designed to support students throughout the programme.

From the outset, TRC-IECE has imbibed the plan-do-review sequence. Previous course outlines, assignments and plans are altered in light of past experiences to maximise students’ learning experiences. We take pride in constructing new experiences for our students.

IECE Admissions & Interviews

Admissions for the ECE-Certificate Programme, which began in July 2012, continued throughout August; enquiries via email and telephone continued to come in through September, but sadly we could not accommodate all of them. This year, we revised our interview process as well and students were selected on a more rigorous round of interviews and a written test. Once the selections were made, along with their acceptance letters, students also received the TRC-IECE Students’ Handbook and the Academic Skills’ Guide.

Orientation to TRC-IECE and ECE-CP

The Orientation Session of the ECE-CP took place on Thursday, September 06, 2012. As expected, the participants were looking forward to the programme with some excitement and some trepidation. The session started off with a welcome, followed by a brief, casual introduction by each student. They were then introduced to the programme and to the course leaders for Term 1.

Following the introductions, students were given their ID cards and the academic calendar. We walked them through some logistical routines of the ECE-CP and introduced them to the environment where they would spend the next ten months. They were then introduced to a vital component of the ECE-CP, the Field Education course; course outlines were shared with both pre and in-service students and they were informed about the requirements of this course, which runs through all three terms. Towards the end of the orientation session, students completed a brief self-reflection written exercise of their learning styles. All course leaders for Term 1 have read through the papers handed in by the students to enable them to better understand each student’s learning style and learning needs.

Students then visited the library in small groups where Shahida, our librarian handed over their course textbooks and library borrowing cards; they were also briefed about library norms. The session ended by addressing some of the queries put forward by the students.

Commencement of ECE-CP

ECE-CP classes began on Monday, September 10, 2012. The courses for Term 1 are Child Development, Promoting Pro-social Behaviour and The Learning Environment, which are held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively. From September to November, students will also attend four classes of the Professional Practices course on four alternate Saturdays. The remaining ten classes of Professional Practices will be held in Term 3 … the ECE CP journey has begun for our 7th cohort.