Ministry urges churches to host integrative children programs

by: Dominica Vibes News - April 30, 2016
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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Marcella Powell

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Marcella Powell

Evangelical leaders across the island have been invited to host more interactive children ministry programs.

This proposal, made by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Marcella Powell is part of the Ministries promotion of Child Friendly Schools (CFS).

This initiative refers to a school where children and adolescents acquire and develop knowledge, abilities and life skills in a healthy and safe environment.

It was launched here in 2009 and last month the Ministry embarked on a public awareness campaign to promote the initiative among the entire population.

On Friday 29 April 2016, the Ministry hosted a workshop for evangelical leaders at the Garraway Hotel in Roseau.

As per Ms Powell, since its implementation in 2009, the ministry has “enjoyed great success in gaining buy-in from parents for the child friendly schools initiative”.

Thus, this academic year, the Ministry took its mandate to involve the wider community in child friendly schools implementation a step further, through the public awareness campaign.

Evangelical leaders gathered at Friday's workshop

Evangelical leaders gathered at Friday’s workshop

“Over the past two months, we have held workshops for early childhood practitioners, sports officers and bus drivers who all come into regular contact with our children and have a role to play in shaping their development and helping to create child friendly learning spaces,” she noted.

As a result, evangelical leaders were invited to the workshop because “as church leaders, you too have a significant role to play to ensure that our children are protected, safe and successful”.

The objective of the workshop was to raise the evangelical leaders’ awareness on issues related to child friendly effective schools, including the issue of child protection, and to define their role as church in the process.

According to the Ministry of Education, a child friendly school is not simply about the school environment; it is also about creating safe spaces wherever children interact and learn, hence the need for partnership with evangelical leaders.

“Where you are concerned, children form part of your congregation; they are exposed to your teachings during regular service and other gatherings as church. Within the church setting, they interact with other children and adults alike who do not form part of their immediate families,” Ms Powell stated.

“We also expect that in many cases, you run active children ministry programs that engage the youngest members of your congregations in bible studies and faith building exercises. The church environment is therefore a learning environment for our children,” she added.