Saturday 22 February, 2020

20 trained in school-based violence prevention programme

From left: Dr. Elizabeth Ward, chair of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA); Dr. Kim Scott, programme director of the Child Resiliency Programme ; Dr. Deanna Ashley, executive director of the VPA and Professor Susan Walker, director of the Caribbean Institute for Health Research promoting peace. They were attending a VPA Forum on ‘Pathways to the Prevention of Violence: Examining the Evidence’.

From left: Dr. Elizabeth Ward, chair of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA); Dr. Kim Scott, programme director of the Child Resiliency Programme ; Dr. Deanna Ashley, executive director of the VPA and Professor Susan Walker, director of the Caribbean Institute for Health Research promoting peace. They were attending a VPA Forum on ‘Pathways to the Prevention of Violence: Examining the Evidence’.

Twenty senior members of staff at the Early Childhood Commission have been trained in the IRIE Classroom Toolbox to implement a school-based violence prevention programme in early childhood institutions.

Professor Susan Walker, director of the Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR) made this disclosure when highlighting early social interventions that were working at a Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) Forum entitled: ‘Pathways to the Prevention of Violence: Examining the Evidence’.

The programme is aimed at reducing violence towards children, addressing behavioural problems among children in addition to increasing social-emotional competence. It is being implemented in collaboration with the Early Childhood Commission, UNICEF and CAIHR.

 “The content of the programme involves building positive relationships; how to promote good behaviour and managing misbehaviour,” Walker said.

She also informed that there was a component of the programme, which targets parents, who are exposed to practical exercises on how to use praise and positive feedback to encourage good behaviour and reduce misbehaviour exhibited by their children.

Professor Susan Walker, director of the Caribbean Institute for Health Research addressing a Violence Prevention Alliance Forum.

The toolbox was developed by members of staff at CAIHR using the results of an efficacy trial and ongoing documentation of training Jamaican preschool teachers.

The goal of the intervention, she expounded, is to support development before and during preschool so that when children enter primary school, they not only have the learning skills but also, the social, friendship skills and appropriate behaviour skills, which will allow them to succeed in school.

Meanwhile, she also noted that another social intervention programme, Reach Up, was also being implemented simultaneously with the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

The Reach Up programme is based on the Jamaica Home Visit intervention which has substantial evidence of impact on children’s development and long term benefits.

The intervention is guided by core principles that include building a positive relationship with parents and their skills, self-esteem and enjoyment in helping their children play and learn.

This, she said, involves using interactive approaches of demonstration and modelling and practice of activities to build skills, emphasizing praise for parent and child.

The objectives of the VPA forum were to share data that examine the magnitude of violence in Jamaica and some of the underlying risks and protective factors; to discuss the evidence that examines the benefits and limitations of social interventions in the prevention of violence; and, to make recommendations for scaling up what works.

The forum, which was held recently at the Regional Headquarters at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus was organised by the VPA in collaboration with the Caribbean Institute for Health Research; UK AID and Open Society Foundations.

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