Tyson and Powell
Tyson and Powell

Child caretakers in St. Kitts underscore importance of early childhood education


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Cognitive, physical, social and emotional development are important components of the overall growth process of a child as they determine how children think, pay attention, remember, feel, socialize and learn. This is the model adopted by the Early Childhood Development Unit (ECDU) in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in an effort to ensure that children receive the very best in childcare education.

Appearing on “Working for You” Wednesday, officials from the ECDU expounded on just how important children are, the importance of early childhood education to child development, as well as the procedures used to keep children actively engaged.

“We focus on their holistic development, that is the physical, the cognitive, the social, emotional,” said Travia Tyson. “What we do is early stimulation. We stimulate them through play using theories from Piaget, Vygotsky and those early theorists. We create an environment conducive for their development, their learning, their stimulation – visually, orally – so that we can meet all of their needs.”

She explained that because each child is different, it is important to ensure that sufficient materials and activities are available that would heighten their interest and keep them gainfully employed.

“Sometimes we have some children who are not very easy to please, so you have to make sure that whatever you do, it meets the needs of all of your children,” Tyson added.  “They are in the pre-operational stage of development. At that point, that is the most sensitive stage of development because by the time they reach age 5, whatever is instilled in them is very hard to take that out. So it is important for us to focus on that part of their lives because that is the most delicate period of their life where we teach them about caring.”

Another official within the unit, Julianna Powell, explained that early childhood education is imperative as it is the prime of a child’s development. “This period is a critical time where you have to focus on the foundation, the basic needs of the child,” she said. “So, this in our sector, early childhood, we would really focus on 0-5 years of age which is the nursery section to the pre-school. In the primary school, we have the children who go up to age 8 as they are still in the range of early childhood.”  

Powell noted that although cognitive and social skills are important to a child’s development, so is their physical well-being. She added that it is important to create an environment for children to be able to venture outside in order to “be physically active to develop their gross and fine motor skills.”

According to https://pathways.org, acquiring motor skills is just one part of children’s development. Mastering both fine and gross motor skills are important for children’s growth and independence. Having good motor control helps children explore the world around them and also helps with their cognitive development.

Gross motor skills refers to movements related to large muscles such as legs, arms, etc., while fine motor skills refers to movements involving smaller muscle groups such as those in the hand and wrist.