Screen_Shot_2014-03-05_at_8.01.41_PMMarch 3rd marked the opening of Child Stimulation Month across the country and this year it brought along a menu of activities. In the Corozal District the month also kicked off with a colorful display of banners which were on exhibited during Monday’s parade which saw the participation of 37 pre-schools who marched down the principal streets of Corozal Town. This year’s theme “Early Childhood Education, Where Our Future Begins”, promotes the importance of toddlers attending pre-schools. It is also the aim of educators to bring to light the benefits of Child Stimulation Month.


Jahmor Lopez – District Education Manager


“Certainly the theme for this year in terms of early childhood is Early Childhood Education Where Our future Begins, and certainly as a ministry we continue to advocate for starting strong, for building the foundation with the small ones because if we start strong we are looking at developing those young minds to become model citizens later on and it is an annual event and the focus of child stimulation month is basically to sensitize the general public, parents, parents to be, about the importance of stimulating that child, many time there are parents who don’t want to sort of break that bond between mother and child and have that child go to pre-school because they think it is a waste of time, it is too expensive etcetera, but now the ministries are now paying salaries to our pre-school teachers in terms of reducing cost to parents because what we are trying to do is to increase access to childhood education because we can see how beneficial it is to  the young child when that child is stimulated from an early age and so it is about sensitizing those parents and have them be aware that children learn through play."


Health screenings, such as the one that took place today at the Andres Campos Civic Center, also forms part of this month’s activities.  The checkups were provided by a group of nurses who have been coming to Belize since 1993.

 

Maria Correa – Coordinator


“This is part of some of the activities taking place for Stimulation month for this year and today we have medical team and they are doing developmental screening for the town pre-schools here at the moment with ten pre-school that are here; five came in the morning and five came in the afternoon.  The children get a full check-up; they measure their height, their weight then they check their ears, teeth and everything.”

 

Victor Castillo – Reporter


“So now, is this part of the stimulation month for today, now tell us what is next after this, and is this free of cost?”

 

Maria Correa – Coordinator


“Yes it is free of cost but the other pre-schools they had to do some accommodations so that they visit the health department, maybe the community nursing aid persons so they ran sessions at their particular pre-schools but at the moment we only have ten rights here.  It is a team that came from abroad and that is headed by Miss Judy, she annually visits the school in the town and in the villages.”


Victor Castillo –Reporter


“How many members are in this group that came from abroad?”


Maria Correa – Coordinator


“It is a team of twenty persons more or less that are here.”


Victor Castillo –Reporter


“So after today will they be going visiting other schools or the school will have to visit a particular health centre?”

 

Maria Correa – Coordinator


“They do visit particular schools and they bring books and other stationaries and they do shampooing of the head for lies and they bring a lot of materials for the schools.”


Judi Jennrich – Nurse


“Doctor Judy Jennrich and I am a nurse from Loyola University in Chicago and I brought a group of twenty one nurses and dieticians from the university.”


Victor Castillo –Reporter

 

We were informed that this is an annual visit that you do to the country of Belize particularly to the northern part of the country, how is it for you have been doing this and how is it for your particular visit?”


Judi Jennrich – Nurse


“The first year I came here was in 1992 and since 1993 we brought a group of students for the first two weeks of marriage without failing so this is our 22nd year.  These are nurses at training, they are family nurse practitioners, they are women health practitioners, some are graduate students, dieticians students and also some are alumni school of nursing that wanted the opportunity to come.”


Victor Castillo –Reporter


“What are sentiments now being part of this year’s stimulation month particular dealing with pre-schoolers/toddlers?”

 

Judi Jennrich – Nurse


“Since we’ve been doing it this is the first time we have a large group for many years generally we are doing the same activities and we are doing, we are introducing ourselves to the children as nurses, we are doing basic type education with oral hygiene, with nutrition, with good food, good touch, bad touch, washing your hands, sneezing’s and then we talk to them about doing a mini exam; we look in their eyes, their ears, the throat, the nose, we listen to their hearts, the lungs, we do some mental status exam, range emotion, and try to make it a fun day for them so they are not afraid of us, we show them the statoscope, we show them the flashlight ahead of time so they are comfortable with us and we can do the exam and we can teach with their parents there.”


Victor Castillo –Reporter


“Now for the pre-schoolers that are not here today, where do normally do you have a centre in Corozal here that they can visit you?”


Judi Jennrich – Nurse


“We go visit them, we are not independent team we work hand in hand with the public health, with HECOPAB, with the hospital, we are health nurses so are just like extra hands that I am sure that they could have had this without us than having twenty extra hands to have it much more smoother and this is just for the town schools today maybe about 350 children all in one day instead of a warning here, a warning here but just today we run Libertad Methodist School so we covered the village Libertad and tomorrow we will be in Caledonia so we go to the village schools as well.”


In Corozal activities continue tomorrow with Family Day while on Thursday a works shop is scheduled for parents and toddlers with members of NDACC. Then topic of discussion will be concentrated around drug prevention and substance abuse. Activities for this week will end with a display of equipments and simulation exercises by the Fire Department.

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