Monday 16 December, 2019

Early Childhood Commission launches app to track kids' development

(From left) ECC’s Karlene DeGrasse-Deslandes; Japanese Ambassador, Hiromasa Yamazaki; Terri-Karelle Reid; UNICEF's Ytske Van Winden; Education Sector Transformation Programme's Daynea Facey; Dance Teacher at Seaview Early Childhood Development Centre, Yanique Salmon and Principal - Hailma Wilkins. In front are students Antwan Pinnock, Asazirah Francis, Crisan Chrstopher and Chevannae Locke.

(From left) ECC’s Karlene DeGrasse-Deslandes; Japanese Ambassador, Hiromasa Yamazaki; Terri-Karelle Reid; UNICEF's Ytske Van Winden; Education Sector Transformation Programme's Daynea Facey; Dance Teacher at Seaview Early Childhood Development Centre, Yanique Salmon and Principal - Hailma Wilkins. In front are students Antwan Pinnock, Asazirah Francis, Crisan Chrstopher and Chevannae Locke.

The Early Childhood Commission (ECC) has launched what it says is the Caribbean’s first mobile application that tracks children’s development - the 1st 1,000 Days Application.

The focus of the App is to provide information on caring for children within the zero to two age cohort, the ECC said.

During the launch of the app at the Terra Nov All-Suite Hotel on Tuesday, Executive Director of the Commission, Karlene DeGrasse-Deslandes said “The primary objective of the App is that it functions as a source of useful information. Its utilization will lead to change in parenting attitudes and behaviours. The App as a tool, is geared toward supporting parents to achieve positive outcomes for their children.”

The App whose content is funded by UNICEF will primarily target all parents, caregivers and anyone tasked with the responsibility of parenting children zero to eight years old. While the App is an extra provision for parents within this cohort, its development and roll-out will be phased and based on the different stages of early childhood. As such, the initial structure of the App will focus on the first 1,000 days and thereafter, expanded incrementally to provide support for parents of children up to age eight.

Parenting Consultant at UNICEF, Ytkse Van Winden stated “With the 1st 1,000 Days App, we have the opportunity to efficiently reach a large number of parents and parents-to-be. Indeed, technology-based approaches are an exciting innovation in the delivery of parenting support, offering benefits such as minimal recurring cost, potential for widespread reach, maintenance of fidelity through content standardisation, opportunity for personalisation, and participant convenience.”

The benefits of the App’s development are not only in relation to the expected positive impact on parenting practices in Jamaica, but potentially to extend to further building the ECC’s reputation as an innovator in early childhood development and as a valuable contributor to research within the field.

The launch was sponsored by the Education Sector Transformation Plan Learning and Teaching (Japan funded Inter-American Development Bank Technical Cooperation).

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