By Lucía Rodríguez
Director, Centro Sophia de Innovación Pedagógica

Early childhood from 0 to 3 years is the most important stage of a person’s life, if we consider the specific characteristics of that period; the vital intellectual and physical development that takes place at that age will pave the way for the years to come. Therefore, the first years of life lay the foundation for all subsequent growth.

In view of that, we feel the need and commitment to join forces to increase training opportunities for educators and teachers. To fill the teams’ training gaps, the Sophia Center, CoEduca and the Catholic University of Uruguay designed and launched the “Early Childhood Training Course”. This training is carried out with the generous support of Fundación ReachingU and the UPM Foundation (in the interior of the country).

It consists of a course in Early Childhood aimed at the training of teams working at Early Childhood Centers, CAIFs and Children’s Clubs, including leading teachers and educators, to address the teachers’ training needs.

In 2020, the project was implemented in remote places in the interior of the country and in several neighborhoods of Montevideo where there are CAIF Centers or Children’s Clubs operating.

The course had been planned in face-to-face mode, but as a result of the country’s health situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it had to be adapted to the remote modality. Despite having been forced to that change, it is important to highlight the impact that this project has generated:

  • In its implementation, the project helped improve the professional skills of early childhood teachers, and therefore it has enhanced the intervention with children and families participating in this stage.
  • These courses innovated by stressing the importance of working in teams and not as isolated training. In each project, participants managed to get a critical interpretation of the situation where the teams operate, and they searched for solutions agreed between the stakeholders with regard the resources, and tools that enhance the specific devices of each center.
  • It was important because it leveraged collaboration between the various institutions that participated, which became apparent in the exchanges, as people shared their practices and ways of solving the various situations raised.
  • One of the skills developed during the courses was digital literacy, which was based on the use of active methodologies, where the student integrated the necessary tools as demanded by their specific needs, with the support of teachers and peers that accompanied the process.
  • It allowed for the training of both Teachers and Educators in the towns or places where they practice, not requiring them to travel to Montevideo or other cities.
  • This has also resulted in the creation of a Network of Centers that had had no previous contact despite their closeness.

All these actions lead to the construction of an educational community that seeks the professional development of those directly involved in Early Childhood.