A National Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) impact evaluation study 2015 found that Bhutanese children are weak in literacy, mathematics and socio-emotional development.

These findings were shared at the ECCD programme in Thimphu yesterday.

Save the Children’s education manager, Karma Dyenka said that children played the least games in these three domains. “One of the reasons to improve these three areas was to improve the programme design.”

She said that focusing on teaching the facilitators different games and activities could help them in turn to help children which could improve in five emergent mathematics and literacy areas.

To scale-up emergent literacy and mathematics among 3 to 5 year olds in the country, facilitators use five foundational skills of emergent mathematics and literacy. Mathematics skill areas are geometry, comparison and measurement, sorting, patterns and number and counting, while the areas in literacy are words and sounds, basic alphabet knowledge, knowing about books, understanding print and, talking and listening.

Karma Dyenka said that there was no separate plan to address socio-emotional development in a child as this area deals with interaction on a daily basis, which occurs, in ECCD centres.

Dzongkhag education officers and ECCD facilitators of all 20 dzongkhags were trained in Emergent Literacy Mathematics (ELM). Model centre facilitators were also trained in sharing peer workshop and in development of the material.

Karma Dyenka said that ELM at home was also piloted in Trashigang and Samtse. “Simple ELM games were introduced where even parents can play with their children,” she said.

Zhemgang’s deputy chief education officer, Karma Wangchuk said that most of the centres were using activity guide book which could help facilitators. “These guide books contain about 60 early literacy skill activities and 50 mathematics skill activities.”

He said that after the introduction of ELM in ECCD centres, facilitators gave positive feedback. “Facilitators said that ELM makes daily activities more interesting. They do not have to worry about next plan and that their work has become easier.”

He said that all ELM activities were conducted through play-based approach. The ECCD programme ends tomorrow.

Rinchen Zangmo