Over fifty (50) early childhood leaders from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are set to participate in a two-day capacity-building forum under the OECS Programme for Educational Advancement and Relevant Learning (PEARL).

The Vincentian participants include administrators and educators within the early childhood subsector, as well as representatives of the National Association of Early Childhood Educators (NAECE) and other relevant stakeholders. The local contributors will join their regional counterparts to share ideas and views on the theme “Understanding and Supporting Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)” and are expected to do the following:

  1. Reflect on some of the findings from the OECS Special Education Needs (SEN) Assessment Report (2023)   

  2. Apply to their own region the strategies, processes and trends in the identification of ASD in young children shared by the keynote speaker

  3. Curate community and early intervention supports available in the region for parents and families with young children with ASD

  4.  Develop processes to enhance the communication between their programme personnel and the parents and families who have young children with ASD

  5.  Discuss the potential and the challenges of inclusion of young children with ASD in ECE programmes

  6. Assess practical strategies, including accommodation, for increasing meaningful and appropriate inclusion of young children with ASD in ECE programmes

  7. After examining the benefits of play-based learning for all children, the ECE Leaders will develop strong, affirming statements to communicate these advantages, especially highlighting the importance for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to various stakeholders 

  8.  Develop a stronger Community of Practice

  9. Develop plans of action regarding understanding, supporting and enhancing the experiences for the young children with ASD who are in their ECE programmes.  These action plans will be built into their 2024-2025 work plans.

The upcoming Leaders Forum has been organized by the Education Development Management Unit of the OECS Commission in collaboration with the ministries of education in the four member-states participating in the OECS PEARL; namely Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This year’s forum is the third of its kind, offering support to leaders in early childhood education across the four OECS member-states in a blended mode of delivery. The key note speeches will be presented by Vincentian Pediatric Neurologist, Dr. Mischa Duncan-Adams (day one) and Canadian Retired Assistant Professor in Inclusive Education Leadership at St. Francis Xavier University, Dr. Monica Williams (day two).

The OECS Early Childhood Leaders Forum takes place on Tuesday, 27th and Wednesday, 28th February from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. daily at the Frenches House in Kingstown.