The National Drug Prevention Unit Launches Their First Pre-School Manual
The Unit is mandated to significantly reduce the demand for drugs on the Island and the manual is in keeping with that demand reduction thrust.
A 2006 study shows that the average age of the first use of drugs is 12 years, and the Unit thinks that Early Childhood Education is the place to start to curb these habits.
The compiling of the pre-school manual began in 2010, where two workshops were held with pre-school teachers to introduce them to teaching drug education.
Ms. Jacinta Bannis, Director of the National Drug Prevention Unit says it was a labour of love.
At the Unit they believe that drug demand reduction efforts must start early, and Early Childhood Education is the best place to start.
The Director reiterated that drugs are not child’s play and teachers must help children to build confidence and self-esteem.
In addition, teachers must educate children about drug use and guide them to make healthy choices.
Mrs. Beverly Leblanc is an Early Childhood Education Specialist and says the idea for the manual came from a workshop that she attended.
She was introduced to Grenada’s manual which held key information that was used during those workshops.
She thanked the staff of the Drug Prevention Unit for accepting the recommendation.
In the manual are a variety of songs, stories and poems to make drug education more easily understood by the preschoolers. The lesson plans in the manual were all prepared by the teachers.
They have also used a thematic approach.
A wide body of research points to the critical impact of development in the early years of a child, in the formation of intelligence, personality, and social behaviour.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Helen Royer, says the information that children will now learn will form the foundation for all future drug prevention efforts.
It is imperative that the curriculum designed for early learners integrate all aspects of the child’s development.
Mrs. Royer says the exposure to the manual should be mandatory since it can yield life-long results.