Solomon Islands' first cohort of early childhood education program participants recently completed their training from the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) in Solomon Islands. The 16 kindergarten teachers commenced studying towards an Australian Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care in July 2014.
This qualification, which is a minimum qualification for early childhood educators in Australia, helps increase the awareness of teachers on the importance of high quality early childhood education and how to work towards achieving such standards.
Participants responded to the program positively, with many, commenting on the detailed content of the curriculum. One of the participants, Sandy Kukuti, shared that the program has really helped her to understand more about children.
"My favourite part of the course was learning about the Australian Early Years Learning Framework, which helps teachers to provide quality early childhood education for pikinini (children)."
Similar views were shared by another participant, Emily Pengalo, who said that they had learnt a lot about child protection issues.
"This is really important for all teachers. As a teacher, it has helped me to learn more about ways to protect pikinini (children) at school and in the community," she added.
APTC Early Childhood Trainer Rebekah Farmer stated that: "We have been blessed to teach such a dedicated group of skilled early childhood teachers, who are so passionate about their roles and the importance of quality early childhood education in the early years."
A key strength of APTC's early childhood training approach is the mentoring model. Clera Manuri, an APTC graduate with a Diploma in Early Childhood, and former APTC Alumni Executive member, works together with Rebekah as a tutor, to deliver the program and support participants in their learning journey.
Rebekah says that Clera is being mentored and supported to learn about the construction and delivery of training. As part of its nationalisation strategy, APTC currently has 14 national trainers who progressed from being tutors to trainers.
"Making the move from teaching children to teaching adults was a big change for me. It has been a challenge that I have enjoyed and I am learning new skills. Encouraging students to progress with their studies in class and work placements has been rewarding and fun. I am looking forward to learning more this year," said Clera Manuri.
This year will see exciting changes for APTC's early childhood team as they relocate to Malaita (one of Solomon Islands' largest provinces) to deliver the program to a group of kindergarten teachers in Auki.
"2015 marks a new phase of training delivery for APTC's early childhood team. We are very excited to be able to offer the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care to students in an area outside of Guadalcanal. This will be the first time that APTC will deliver a course in one of the provincial centres of the Solomon Islands. This opportunity has been made possible through ongoing collaboration and support by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development," said Mark Robertson, APTC's Country Manager for Solomon Islands.
APTC is an initiative funded by the Australian Government to deliver vocational training and to increase the supply of skilled workers in targeted sectors in the Pacific region. APTC has campuses in Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. APTC continues to work in partnership with Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBIT) offering Certificate III programs in Automotive and Formwork/ Falsework for Solomon Islanders at the DBTI Henderson campus.
Those interested in applying for APTC courses can contact the office at the Alvaro Building Point Cruz, by phone on +677 21313.