TCI News

TCI: Respect for children encouraged in MoE and UNICEF ‘Positive Discipline’ campaign

#Providenciales, May 31, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The Ministry of Education in partnership with UNICEF is giving more intentional focus to better disciplinary practices in a campaign called, Positive Discipline is Possible with Young Children.

“The Ministry of Education has embarked on a campaign to ensure that all of its institutions are operating in accordance to the ‘Child-friendly Principles’. Child-friendly schools are guided by three main principles namely: Child-centeredness, Inclusion and Democratic Participation. Similar to schools in the Eastern Caribbean region, the Turks and Caicos Islands has focused its attention on implementing positive Behaviour Management, Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) and healthy Lifestyles, Student Participation, Parental and Community Involvement, Policies that Protect Children and Student Centeredness.”

Education Officer with a focus on Child Safeguarding, Heidi Williams explained that while most schools already have best practices in place, the campaign is designed to heighten awareness.

“Positive discipline is a method of teaching appropriate behaviour by interacting with children in a kind but firm manner. The aim of positive discipline is to prevent behavioural problems before they start by teaching routines, understanding, and providing support.”

It may be peculiar in our culture of ‘be seen and not heard’ as a general rule for children, to embrace this method of guiding healthier behaviour and kinder reactions to misbehavior, but Williams is supported by UNICEF in the mission to introduce the ‘Child Friendly Policies’.

“In addition, research has shown that treating children with respect forms the basis for a nurturing, secure, trustworthy and loving relationship between the parent and the child, and is more effective in the long –term than punishment,” explained Ms. Williams.

The new policies in child-rearing are not a carte blanche for children to be rude toward or to rule their parents and teachers; in fact, UNICEF has proven that the principles work to establish greater harmony and understanding.

“Positive discipline does not mean letting children have their own way, but rather setting realistic expectations and firm boundaries that are both developmentally and age appropriate.”

The campaign has included Public Service Announcements on radio, television and social media and more.

“While many of these areas currently exist within our school systems, we have set into motion a campaign to bring about greater awareness of positive discipline, not only in our schools but in the homes. Further to this, a number of strategies have been put in place, in addition to workshops being held and distribution of pamphlets to parents.”

The ‘Positive Discipline is Possible’ campaign is funded by UNICEF.

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