Initiated by the service organisation SERVOL, this programme involves community-based and parent-centred nursery school education that takes place at a regional centre. The programme, which has reached approximately 5,000 three- to five-year-old children in Trinidad and Tobago, emphasises building children's self-esteem.
Communication Strategies: 

In 1980, SERVOL built a Regional Training and Resource Centre to respond to appeals from community members to train teachers, field officers, and administrators in Early Child Care and Education (ECCE). This training was meant to prepare adults to provide community-based and parent-oriented education.

The project has continued since that time. Teachers and field officers are encouraged to make contact with adults responsible for raising children in order to influence their child-rearing practice. This influence is intended to have a cumulative effect; in other words, it is hoped that parents who participate will then go on to shape the practices of other parents. Through contact with a trained teacher and sessions that involve sharing experiences with each other, parents are introduced to ideas including the following:

  • children can be taught lessons without being physically punished
  • the tendency of toddlers to touch and explore should be encouraged rather than suppressed
  • in their early years, children need the constant presence of the same adult figure to make them feel secure
  • fruit and vegetables are preferable to junk food or sweets
  • kissing and hugging children often is a must
  • children need to be constantly supervised in case they hurt themselves.

Development Issues

Children, Education, Nutrition, Health, Early Childhood Development.

Key Points: 

SERVOL is a service organisation engaged in educational and community-based efforts to help disadvantaged children and adolescents in Trinidad and Tobago. (Click here for a description of SERVOL.)

To honour its commitment to community participation, SERVOL has implemented a system according to which the Boards of Education serve as the official employers of the teachers involved in the programme. These Boards are responsible for the physical upkeep of the centres and for monitoring the punctuality and performance of teachers. This approach draws the community into the educational process; for example, parents vote along with the Boards of Education at an annual general meeting.

During the past 20 years, approximately 600 teachers have been trained in 150 Centres from all over the Caribbean, including Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Montserrat, Nevis, Panama, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Turks and Caicos. Oxford University participates in the programme as an external examiner.

Partner Text: 

SERVOL, Oxford University. Government subsidies pay teachers' salaries.