Saint Lucia to host family learning symposium

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CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Family Learning Programme (FLP), which aims to promote a holistic approach to family literacy and learning throughout the region, will be hosting a two-day symposium in Saint Lucia, dubbed ‘Making the Connections : Adult Literacy, Family Literacy and Early Childhood Development’.

The symposium, which will take place on October 13 and 14 in Gros Islet, is in keeping with the FLP’s broad aim to increase community-based and national capacity to deliver family learning programmes and to promote the importance of family learning among parents, practitioners and policy makers throughout the Eastern Caribbean.

The FLP is a family intervention programme operated on the premise that adults and community members on the whole are children’s first teachers and that as attempts are made to strengthen the learning environment for children, parents and caregivers cannot be overlooked.

The FLP attempts to promote a Caribbean interpretation of family literacy that extends the goals of programmes like the Roving Caregivers Programme which aims to promote early stimulation in children that are not exposed to formal early childhood services. The RCP, like the FLP, also includes parents in its interventions.

The event, which will be geared towards policymakers, programme developers and practitioners, will showcase best practices for community and institution-based approaches to family learning including early education, health education as well as specific pre-literacy and early literacy approaches used in childcare and preschool settings.

The symposium will also feature presentations from policy makers, academics engaged in research around literacy issues and family and community learning. Participants will be exposed to the work of the Caribbean Child Support Initiative (which will soon transition into the Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children) in promoting the concepts and methodologies associated with family learning and family literacy.

Resources such as the FLP toolkit and other associated materials, which were developed to enhance the early childhood care environment, will also be explored.

The first day of the symposium will be devoted to setting the framework for family literacy and learning in the Eastern Caribbean, and will feature policy and programming presentations as well as research on matters relating to family literacy.

The second and final day will see presentations and showcases from promising programmes and innovations that are working to strengthen the early care environment through family learning and literacy.

The FDCC, the FLP’s parent organisation and the region’s first home-grown foundation devoted to early childhood development (ECD), will also be using the symposium as an opportunity to unveil, for the first time, its new website (www.fdcchildren.org) and social media platforms. The launch will be an exciting experience for both those present at the symposium as well as those who will participate in the launch online.

Attendees at the symposium will be treated to a live talk/click through and will be exposed to the various features of the innovative website. The FDCC’s website will provide up to the minute information on the Foundation’s initiatives and activities, testimonials from those who have benefited most from its programmes, useful resources for parents and children as well as research and publications that support ECD.

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