CIESPI/PUC-Rio has just issued its 8th bulletin in the SIPP Project series Participative and Inclusive Early Childhood Education under the title What early childhood teachers think about the opportunities and challenges of early education in their community of Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro.
The bulletin is based on interviews with 20 early education teachers and directors in the community, and follows the project’s interest in reflecting on how to improve safety, inclusion and participation in the education centers, in the children’s homes and in the community.
The teachers were adamant about their responsibility to include all students in the daily life of the classrooms including quiet children, children having an off day, and children with disabilities. They also saw inclusion as involving the parents in their children’s lives in the school and in educational opportunities at home. Three quarters of the teachers thought that poverty interfered with children’s capacity to learn, pointing to low-income families’ limited access to crucial goods and services.
Participation for the teachers meant children being involved, interacting, learning and engaging in all the school’s activities. They also said that most parents were involved in some way or other in the school’s activities but that long and inconvenient working hours and in some cases a lack of understanding of the importance of early education limited that participation.
Safety was always an issue in a community wracked by violence and random police shoot-outs but the children were generally safe in school and most of them safe at home.
As the teachers insisted, children
“learn playing, they learn singing, they learn in exchanges with adults, with a friend by their side, they must interact with this being different from themselves”.