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Table of  Contents     EXECUTIVE  SUMMARY  ..................................................................................................  3   A.  INTRODUCTION  AND  BACKGROUND  ........................................................................  8   B.  A  NEW  VISION:  PRESCHOOL  EDUCATION  IN  TIMOR-­‐LESTE  ....................................  11   C.  STRATEGIC  FOCUS  AREAS  .......................................................................................  13   I.  Expand  Availability  of  Quality  Preschool  Education  ..............................................  13   II.  Increase  the  training  and  on-­‐going  professional  development  of  preschool   educators  ..............................................................................................................  14   III.  Support  Curriculum  Development  ......................................................................  15   IV.  Development  of  Family  and  Community  Partnerships  .......................................  18   V.  Development  of  a  standards  based  monitoring  and  evaluation  system  ..............  19     References:  .................................................................................................................  21   Acronyms  ....................................................................................................................  23   Glossary  ......................................................................................................................  24   Annex  ..........................................................................................................................  25      






EXECUTIVE SUMMARY     Timor-­‐Leste’s  vision  for  preschool  education  is  to  provide  all  children  between  3-­‐5  years  of  age   access   to   a   quality   preschool   program   close   to   their   home.   A   quality   preschool   education   will   help  children  to  develop  the  basic  skills,  knowledge,  confidence  and  self-­‐esteem  needed  to  arrive   at   primary   school   ready   to   learn.   Families,   communities   and   local   government   will   be   involved   in   the   decision   making   process.   Through   these   collaborative   efforts   a   network   of   preschools   will   be   established   that   meet   all   the   requirements   defined   by   the   National   Directorate   of   Preschool   Education   within   the   Ministry   of   Education   (MoE).   The   short   term   goal   as   stated   in   Timor   Lest   Nation   Strategic   Plan   for   Education   2011-­‐2015   is   that   by   2015   at   least   one   half   of   the   total   number  of  children  between  3  and  5  years  old  will  be  enrolled  in  a  quality  preschool.      

Current Situation     In  2007-­‐2008  there  were  141  pre-­‐primary  schools  with  310  teachers  reaching  approximately  25%   of   the   population   between   3-­‐5   years   of   age.     Enrolment   rates   however   are   much   higher   in   urban   areas.   Communities   continue   to   make   a   significant   contribution   to   the   growth   in   preschool   education.   Of   the   141   preschools,   115   are   private   community-­‐   supported.   One   of   the   main   concerns  characterizing  the  current  preschool  provision  is  the  low  level  of  quality  teaching  and   learning.     Teachers   are   poorly   trained   and   classrooms   lack   sufficient   teaching   and   learning   materials  available  in  the  appropriate  languages  of  instruction.  The  urgent  need  to  develop  and   reform   the   curriculum   is   recognized.   Moreover,   the   inspection   system   established   in   2008,   has   not  been  developed  for  preschool  education.       In  spite  of  these  challenges,  some  important  recent  developments  have  taken  place  including  a   preschool   teacher   competence   framework,   guidelines   for   school   accreditation   and   a   pilot   preschool  teacher  training  program.  With  the  support  of  the  UNICEF,  Open  Society  Foundation   and   Macquarie   University,   the   Early   Childhood   Education   Working   Group   is   reviewing   the   quality   and  of  teaching  and  learning  materials  within  a  range  of  existing  programs.    


The law   decreed   in   2010   to   create   National   Directorate   of   Preschool   Education   was   a   major   milestone  in  the  development  of  this  sector.  The  Ministry  of  Education’s  teacher  career  regime   should   be   used   to   help   resolve   some   of   the   teaching   challenges   within   the   preschool   sector   including   the   lack   of   adequate   supervision   of   new   teachers.   Under   the   direction   of   the   Directorate  of  Preschool  Education,  the  Early  Childhood  Education  Working  Group  will  continue   to   coordinate   efforts   among   organization   and   NGO   partners   in   order   to   achieve   a   more   standardized  teaching  and  learning  guidelines.        

A New  Vision:  Preschool  Education  in  Timor-­‐Leste       Preschool   education   programs   address   all   aspects   of   children’s   development   (social-­‐emotional,   language,  cognitive  and  physical)  and  provide  a  solid  foundation  for  the  child’s  success  in  early   primary  school.  Positive  benefits  for  children  enrolled  in  quality  programs  include:  positive  self-­‐ concept  and  resiliency;  communication  and  emergent  literacy  skills;  critical  thinking  for  decision   making   and   problem   solving;   skills,   attitudes   to   construct   their   own   knowledge;   and   an   ability   to   interact  well  with  children  and  adults.   In  order  to  increase  the  enrolment  rates  of  preschool  children  to  50%  by  2015,  the  Ministry  of   Education  is  encouraging  the  development  of  a  range  of  programs  administered  by  both  private   and   public   entities.   Flexibility   in   terms   of   the   organization   and   structure   of   Timor-­‐Leste’s   preschool  programs  is  encouraged.  Within  this  structure,  however,  all  preschools  programs  will   be  committed  to  the  following  principles:     • • •

• •

• • •

Establish a   supportive   environment   for   children,   families   and   staff   that   provide   opportunities  to  enhance  awareness  refine  skills  and  increase  understanding;       Understand   that   the   empowerment   of   families   occurs   when   programs   are   jointly   managed  and  reflect  the  perspectives  of  families,  communities  and  staff;   Promote  a  comprehensive  vision  of  health  for  children  by  assuring  that  basic  health   and  nutrition  needs  are  met,  encouraging  practices  that  prevent  future  illnesses  and   injuries  and  promote  positive  and  culturally  relevant  health  behaviours;   Provide   comprehensive   learning   opportunities   that   address   all   aspects   of   development    including  social,  emotional,  cognitive  and  physical  growth;   to   support   the   child   develop   an   understanding   of   the   languages,   values,   beliefs,   traditions,   and   customs   of   our   diverse   East   Timorese   cultures,   secure   in   the   knowledge  that  he  or  she  makes  a  valued  contribution  to  our  society  and  the  wider   world.   Build   a   community   where   adults   and   children   are   treated   as   individuals   while   at   the   same  time  a  sense  of  belonging  to  the  group  is  reinforced;   Foster  relationships  with  the  larger  community  so  that  families  and  staff  are  served   by  a  network  of  community  agencies  in  partnership  with  one  another;   Develop   a   continuum   of   care,   dedication,   and   services   that   allow   stable   and   consistent  support  to  families  and  children.  

Strategic Focus  Areas   In   order   to   achieve   the   goal   of   providing   50,000   more   children   with   access   to   preschool   education  during  2011-­‐2015,  the  Ministry  of  Education  and  the  National  Directorate  of  Preschool   Education  will  focus  of  the  following  five  strategic  focus  areas.        



Expand availability  of  quality  preschool  education  

In   an   effort   to   accommodate   25,000   more   children,   existing   classrooms   will   be   reutilized   and   empty   classrooms   will   be   reutilized   and   refurbished.     A   number   of   new   classrooms   within   existing  schools  will  also  be  build.    Preschool  development  will  be  associated  with  the  network  of   filial  schools  and  primary  schools  in  a  number  of  clusters.  Newly  trained  teachers  will  be  assigned   to  schools  to  ensure  that  children  living  in  both  rural  and  urban  communities  have  equal  access   to  quality  education.   The   Directorate   of   Preschool   Education   in   collaboration   with   the   Ministry   of   Education   will   be   responsible   for   developing   guidelines   and   standards   for   the   design   of   new   and/or   refurbished   preschool   classroom   and   facilities.       The   environment   should   be   child   friendly,   welcoming   and   accessible   to   all   children.   The   facilities,   equipment,   and   learning   materials   will   be   developmentally   appropriate   and   well   maintained   in   order   to   facilitate   children’s   optimal   health,   nutrition  and  development.     The   young   child’s   learning   environment   must   be   physically   and   psychologically   safe.   Physical   safety  includes  the  need  to  protect  the  child  from  health  hazards  that  prohibit  the  child’s  ability   to  learn  and  develop.  The  space  should  be  organized  to  provide  a  variety  of  learning  experiences   for  all  children  of  different  gender,  ethnicity,  or  special  needs.  Resources  within  this  environment   should  reflect  the  cultural  experiences  and  traditions  of  Timor-­‐Leste’s  children  and  families.   General   criteria   to   consider   in   furnishing   classrooms   and   developing   learning   materials   should   include:     • Materials   that   promote   problem   solving,   critical   thinking,   and   creativity   for   children   different  talents  and  abilities     • Easily  accessible  materials  that  stimulate  play  exploration  and  discovery     • Multicultural  materials  that  promote  appreciation  for  diversity   • Clearly  defined  places  where  families  can  gather     • Places  for  displaying  children’s  work   • Materials  from  the  local  environment  including  available  natural  materials   • Materials  for  children  to  create  their  own  play  things.   • The  environment  can  be  adapted  so  children  with  disabilities  can  fully  participate  in  both   indoor  and  outdoor  activities     Indoor   space   is   designed   and   arranged   to   accommodate   children   individually,   in   small   groups,   and   in   a   large   group.   Outdoor   play   areas   should   include   age   and   developmentally   appropriate   equipment  and  protected  by  fences  or  natural  barriers  to  prevent  access  to  streets  and  to  avoid   other  dangers.      

II. Increase the  training  and  ongoing  professional  development  of  preschool  educators.       Preschool  education  is  critical  as  it  establishes  the  foundation  upon  which  all  other  learning  takes   place.   Preschool   teachers   must   have   the   educational   background,   training,   and   commitment   necessary  to  promote  children’s  learning  and  development  and  to  support  families  with  diverse   needs.   In   achieving   this   goal   the   Ministry   of   Education   and   the   National   Directorate   of   Preschool   Education   will   be   responsible   for   designing   staffing   plans   for   the   expansion   of   all   preschool   classrooms;   the   development   and   implementation   of   in-­‐service   programs   to   qualify   teachers   according   to   the   new   curriculum   standards,   and   ensure   an   adequate   number   of   teachers   graduating  from  pre-­‐service  institutions.    Accreditation  for  previous  training  and  experience  will   also  be  recognized.       Educating   and   caring   for   young   children   is   an   important   and   demanding   responsibility.     It   is   crucial   that   educators   and   caregivers   possess   appropriate   characteristics   as   well   as   the  


knowledge, and   skills   needed   in   working   with   young   children.     With   appropriate   training   and   experience,   preschool   educators   are   more   likely   to   engage   in   warm   positive   interactions   with   children,   offer   rich   language   experiences,   and   create   high   quality   learning   environments.       Teacher  training  will  equip  teachers  with  the  following  professional  skills:   • Theoretical  and  practical  knowledge  on  child  growth  and  development;   • Ability  to  plan  and  implement  the  curriculum  activities  goals,  and  objectives;     • Ability  to  assess  a  child’s  development  and  to  develop  individual  learning  plans;   • Capacity  to  work  in  teams  with  other  educators;   • Ability  to  prepare  children  for  transition  to  primary  school;   • Develop  necessary  linkage  with  other  community  services  including  health  and  nutrition;   • Capacity   to   work   with   and   increase   the   participation   of   families   in   all   aspects   of   their   child’s  learning  and  development;   • To  pursue  opportunities  to  increase  skills  and  continuous  professional  development.    

III.  Curriculum  Development     The   Ministry   of   Education   will   develop   and   implement   new   curriculum   guidelines   in   all   preschools.  Teaching  and  learning  methodologies  will  incorporate  and  build  upon  the  core  values   of  Timor-­‐Leste’s  rich  and  diverse  cultures  recognizing  and  reflecting  the  value  of  children  within   the   Timor-­‐Leste   family   and   community.   In   addition,   the   new   curriculum   will   reflect   current   theories   of   child   development   and   build   upon   best   practices   in   early   learning   with   particular   attention  to  successful  programs  implemented  within  the  South  East  Asia.  The  overall  goal  of  the   new   curriculum   framework   is   to   provide   young   children   with   educational   experiences   that   support  their  rights  to  learn  and  develop  through  arts,  music  and  local  language  will  be  made  to   align   the   preschool   curriculum,   as   well   as   child   centred   teaching   methods   and   learning   materials   within  the  early  primary  grades.     The  new  curriculum  framework  will  provide  guidelines  to  help  children  to:     • Learn  about  themselves  and  their  unique  skills  and  potential;     • Understand   the   needs   of   those   around   them   family   siblings,   older   relatives,   and   to   establish  patterns  of  care,  respect  and  cooperation;   • Recognize  and  appreciate  the  physical  and  social  environment;   • Enhance   strong   mother   tongue   communication   skills   including   speaking,   listening,   pre   reading  and  prewriting  skills  in  their  mother  tongue.  Preschool  children’s  language  skills   can   also   be   enriched   through   exposure   to   the   sounds   and   symbols   of   a   second   language   through  songs,  rhymes,  and  games.     • Express  themselves  through  dance,  music,  and  art;   • Recognize   and   number   and   patterns,   size,   shape   and   proportion   and   the   basic   foundation  skills  of  early  numeracy;   • Ask  and  answer  questions  through  exploration  and  discovery  of  how  things  work;   • Listen   to   others   and   respect   and   welcome   difference   to   learn   with   other   children   and   adults.     IV.  Development  of  Public  Purpose  Partnerships     Organized   society   will   play   an   important   role   in   meeting   the   targeted   enrolment   increase   by   2015   and   strong   and   continuous   efforts   will   be   designed   to   promote   these   important   partnerships.   The   critical   work   of   the   church   and   faith   based   organizations,   and   the   many   national   and   international   agencies   involved   in   preschool   education   will   be   supported   and  


enhanced.   In   addition,   as   the   decentralization   process   continues,   more   responsibility   will   be   given  to  District  authorities  to  accelerate  the  expansion  of  the  preschool  network.    The  Ministry   of   Education   with   the   support   of   the   Directorate   for   Preschool   Education   will   design   and   provide   appropriate  training  and  incentives  to  stimulate  this  process.  A  first  step  in  this  process  is  to  map   and   assess   the   scale   and   quality   of   preschool   programs   within   Timor-­‐Leste.     Areas   where   new   preschools  classrooms  are  needed  most  will  be  prioritized.     A   promotional   package   and   incentives   will   be   developed   to   stimulate   the   expansion   of   preschools  administered  by  the  church,  community-­‐based  organizations  and  NGOs.  The  primary   objective  of  this  approach  is  to  increase  both  the  availability  and  accessibility  of  quality  preschool   programs   for   the   most   disadvantaged   children   and   families.   The   National   Directorate   of   Early   Childhood   Education   will   be   responsible   for   developing   policies   and   guidelines   to   establish   preschool   education   programs   throughout   the   country,   public   as   well   as   private,   including   the   registration,  monitoring  and  accreditation.          

V.  Development  of  a  standards  based  monitoring  and  evaluation  system     The  Directorate  of  Preschool  Education  will  design  and  implement  an  ongoing  monitoring  system   to   ensure   that   program   goals   and   objectives   are   being   met.   This   will   include   procedures,   policies   and   systems   that   support   stable   staff,   fiscal   and   program   management.   To   meet   this   goal,   the   best  teaching  staff  will  be  allocated  to  these  activities  and  efforts.     The   accountability   mechanisms   will   be   community-­‐based,   open   and   transparent,   respectful   of   diversities   and   multiple   perspectives.   Quality   programs   require   competent   and   knowledgeable   leadership,  and  clear  administrative  policies  and  procedures.  The  standard  based  monitoring  and   evaluation  system  will:     • ensure   compliance   with   relevant   regulations   and   guidelines   including   teaching   and   learning,  health,  nutrition  and  safety;   • promote  fiscal  soundness  and  program  accountability;   • maintain  stable  staff;     • institute  ongoing  program  planning  for  continuous  program  enrichment;   • enhance   a   sense   of   shared   partnership   with   families   and   communities,   and   encourage   local  and  regional  decision  making  regarding  early  care  and  education  policies.  






The one  who  waters  with  love  doesn't  die.   Flowers  blossom.   Fruits  sparkle.   The  seed  breaks  into  a  living    tissue.   - (Ruy  Cinatti)  


It's by   using   the   metaphor   of   the   “TAIS”   as   a   living   piece   of   cloth   which   represents   the   Timorese   soul  and  dignity,  glorified  by  a  Portuguese  poet  and  anthropologist,  Ruy  Cinatti,  who  very  much   loved   and   wrote   about   Timor-­‐Leste,   that   this   policy   document   is   framed.   Therefore   the   metaphor  of  the  TAIS  will  be  used  throughout  the  entire  work.   The   goal   of   this   document   is   to   provide   a   Framework   for   the   Expansion   and   Development   of   Preschool  Education  in  Timor-­‐Leste,  including  Curricular-­‐Teaching  Guidelines  and  Development   and  Learning  Targets  for  Timorese  Children.   Timor-­‐Leste  National  Strategic  Plan  for  Education  2011-­‐2015  recognizes  that  “in  2002  there  were   57  pre-­‐primary  schools  registered,  serving  2,904  children.  Of  these  57  schools  8  were  public  and   49   were   private   (…)”.   This   education   subsystem   is   now   expanding   considerably.   At   the   start   of   the  school  year  of  2007/2008  there  were  141  pre-­‐primary  education  schools  with  310  teachers,   attended  by  7,994.  This  means  we  are  reaching  25%  of  the  total  population  of  children  of  that   age  group.  However  these  figures  may  hide  some  significant  differences  between  provinces  and   regions.  Enrolment  rates  are  much  higher  in  urban  areas,  than  they  are  in  rural  and  the  Highland   regions  (p.  17).   Therefore,  the  short  term  goal  is  that  by  2015  at  least  one  half  of  the  total  number  of  children   between  3  and  5  years  old  will  be  enrolled  and  receive  quality  preschool  education  (p.  65).   It   is   important   to   highlight   a   clear   definition   of   terms   of   reference.   This   policy   is   about   preschool   education,   for   children   from   3   to   5,   as   a   preparation   for   primary   education.   There   are   two   other   perspectives:   Early   Childhood   Education   which   is   concerns   also   children   from   3   to   5,   but   has   a   broader  sense  than  just  preparation  to  primary  school  having  the  concern  with  the  child’s  overall   development.   The   perspective   of   Early   Childhood   Development   (according   to   UNICEF)   is   concerned  with  the  global  development  of  children  from  birth  to  8  years  old.     The   goal   of   this   policy   framework   is   to   provide   a   set   of   principles   and   guidance   for   the   development   of   preschool   education   within   the   context   of   Timor-­‐Leste’s   emerging   educational   system.  It  begins  with  the  observation  of  the  challenges  and  opportunities  for  the  development   of   services   for   children   from   birth   to   age   six.     Focusing   on   the   development   of   preschool   education   within   the   larger   early   child   development   system,   the   document   defines   a   set   of  


principles guiding  the  new  vision  for  preschool  education  in  Timor-­‐Leste.  The  third  section  of  the   policy   framework   includes   information   to   be   considered   to   reach   the   goals   specified   in   the   government’s   commitment   to   five   strategic   focus   areas   including   (1)   expand   availability   of   quality  preschool  education;(2)  increase  the  training  and  on-­‐going  professional  development  of   preschool   educators;(3)   support   curriculum   development;   (4)   involve   families   and   communities   and  (5)  develop  a  standards-­‐based  monitoring  and  evaluation  system.       A  supplemental  Document,  Basic  Orientations  for  Preschool  Practitioners,  provides  guidance  for   practitioners     with   day   to   day   activities   and   some   principles   for   quality   approach   to   preschool   education.  It  includes  pedagogical  guidelines  for  organization  of  working  spaces;  creating  and  use   of   materials;   examples   of   daily   activities;   project   work   activities;   activities   and   games;   and   assessment  and  documentation.      

Background The   Government   of   the   Republic   of   Timor-­‐Leste   intends   to   reduce   the   disadvantageous   circumstances  that  deny  0  to  6  years  old  children  a  fair  start  in  life,  which  deprive  them  of  access   to   health   and   education   services.   Recognizing   the   crucial   role   of   early   stimulation   based   on   adequate  nutrition  of  the  body,  and  rich  educational  experiences  based  on  games  to  stimulate   their   minds,   the   Ministry   of   Education   will   ensure   that   no   Timorese   child   will   be   limited   to  the   disadvantageous  cycle  that  may  be  its  inheritance  at  birth,  and  which  can't  become-­‐  otherwise  it   would  be  a  serious  social  injustice  and  absence  of  an  equitable  perspective  -­‐  its  context  as  that   child  grows  and  tries  to  discover  the  world  and  his  or  her  place  in  that  same  world.   The   Government   of   the   Republic   of   Timor-­‐Leste   "will   try   to   reduce   the   disadvantageous   circumstances  that  deprive  many  children  of  a  fair  developmental  start  from  birth,  which  deny   them   access   to   education   and   health".1The   Government   of   Timor-­‐Leste   and   the   Ministry   of   Education  acknowledge  that  these  goals  mean  that  the  communities  are  equipped  with  minimal   services   and   the   know-­‐how   and   skills   to   guarantee   that   children's   development   reaches   its   full   potential.  The  government  is  fully  conscious  that  children  develop  simultaneously  in  every  area   of  development   (physical,  emotional,  social  and  cognitive)  and  that  if  "one  area  is  not  developed   it  will  have  repercussions  in  other  areas  of  development"  (ibid.).     Thus,   the   government   will   have   to   guarantee   that,   in   spite   of   the   fact   that   its   ministries   and   departments  exist  as  separate  entities  to  facilitate  administration,  children  offered  those  services   must  experience  services  as  a  whole,  including  an  effective  support  for  every  dimension  of  the   children’s  life:  health,  education,  well-­‐being,  access  to  educational  backgrounds  and  health  care   thus   strengthening   their   physical   and   psychological   development.   This   guidance   emphasizes   attention  to  children’s  rights,  including  the  right  to  play,  to  feel  safe,  to  grow  without  any  form  of   mistreatment,   abuse   or   abandonment  (decreed   by   the   International   Convention   on   the   Rights   of   the  Child).  The  various  ministries  and  departments  have  therefore  to  guarantee  that  the  systems   created   ensure   interdepartmental   communication,   strategic   common   definition,   dialogue   and   cooperation   towards   initiatives   created   to   serve   Timor-­‐Leste’s   communities   and   its   future   citizens  in  the  person  of  smaller  children.   The   principle   of   central   and   regional   articulation   with   the   local   becomes   essential   in   political   guidance   (at   several   ministerial   level:   Education,   Health,   Justice   and   Social   Solidarity,   etc.),   so   that,   locally,   strategies   are   joint   and   articulate.   Equally   important   will   be   the   involvement   and   empowerment  of  local  communities  and  the  families,  not  forgetting  the  women  –  traditionally   the   primary   caregivers   -­‐,   in   the   discussion   of   these   policies   and,   most   of   all,   in   its   context   making   them  decisive  counterparts  and  not  mere  services  consumers.  On  the  other  hand  men  need  to   be  more  aware  of  their  role  as  parents  of  young  children  


Child-to-Child Trust, Policy Statement. September 2011.


During the   development   of   the   policy   framework   for   preschool   education   a   set   of   contextual   issues   emerged   from   the   initial   observations,   review   of   documents,   and   discussions.   These   are   summarized  below.     •

A first   issue   relates   to   the   need   to   obtain   a   full   profile   of   the   institutions,   public   and   private   initiatives   covered,   in   the   13   districts   of   Timor-­‐Leste,   including   information   on   where  are  and  what  services  are  available  for  children  from  3  to  65years  old.  This  task   would  be  in  the  purview  of  the  district  and  local  educational  administrations  authorities   which,   under   the   guidance   of   central   government   or   in   collaboration   with   other   agencies,  would  have  this  mapping  to  take  place  in  the  short  term.   A   second   issue   concerns   the   training   of   professionals   for   working   with   young   children.   These   practitioners   need   simultaneously   to   be   specialised   in   child   development   and   learning   but   also   in   the   involvement   of   families   without   whom   there   is   no   quality   preschool   education.   Alongside,   these   professionals   need   to   establish   a   strategic   relationship  with  the  primary  education  teachers  to  ensure  children  are  successful  in  the   transition   to   the   next   level.   The   Strategic   Plan   2010-­‐2013   recognizes   the   Bachelor’s   level   for  all  children  professionals.   A  third  issue  focuses  on  the  complexity  of  the  language  of  instruction.The  Constitution   of  the  Democratic  Republic  of  Timor-­‐Leste  establishes  two  official  languages  -­‐  Tetum  and   Portuguese.  To  add  to  this  sensitive  problem  there  are  16  other  native  mother  tongues   and  36  local  dialects.  The  policy  we  will  be  presenting  will  follow  the  policy  of  Ministry  of   Education,  Yet  along  our  suggestions,  we  will  reinforce  the  role  of  mother  language  as  a   transition  from  home  to  school.     A   fourth   issue   relates   to   curricula   and   learning   materials.   Although,   teaching   materials   and  books  have  been  developed  which  reveal  sensitivity  to  the  culture  of  the  people  of   Timor-­‐Leste,  these  are  barely  visible  in  the  settings.  The  investment  in  natural  materials  -­‐   given  the  rich  Timorese  fauna  and  flora  -­‐  is  not  sufficiently  visible  in  the  classrooms,  for   the   most   part   equipped   with   toys   and   games,   generously   donated   of   course,   but   conveying  values  and  symbols  less  adapted  to  the  Timorese  culture.   Finally,  a  fifth  issue  relates  to  the  link  between  pre-­‐school  and  primary  education.  Not   all  children  have  access  to  primary  education  (the  statistics  checked  point  to  a  coverage   ratio   of   64%).   High   quality   programs   for   children   from   3   to   5   years   old   may   play   an   inductive   role,   e.g.   they   strengthen   the   trust   and   value   that   families   must   place   in   school,  thus  indirectly  adding  to  primary  education  universalization.        



B. A  NEW  VISION:  PRESCHOOL  EDUCATION  IN  TIMOR-­‐LESTE     DIGNITY  and  RESPECT  are  core  values  of  Timor-­‐Leste  culture  as  is  the  pride  of  its  history  of   resistance.  It  is  essential  to  have  an  attitude  of  respect  in  the  way  people  relate  with  each   other.  This  respect  is  not  about  subservience,  but  intertwined  with  the  value  of  dignity.  It  is   inscribed  in  these  values  that  the  expansion  and  development  of  early  childhood  education   in   Timor-­‐Leste   is   considered.   However,   if   adults   and   elderly   people   are   worthy   of   that   respect  and  reverence  from  the  young,,  that  same  respect  and  reverence  is  expected  from   the  elderly  towards  the  young,  including  its  youngest  citizens.   As  an  essential  guideline  for  children's  education  in  Timor-­‐Leste  it  is  proposed  to  assume  the   child   as   an   integral   part   of   a   family   and   of   one   or   more   communities,   each   with   its   own   culture   and   language.   She   is   acknowledged,   from   the   early   years,   as   a   CITIZEN   of   this   country,  a  young  citizen  entitled  to  have  a  voice,  to  express  her  opinion,  to  have  access  to   express   herself   to   choose   and   commit   herself   to   the   choices   she   has   made.   Thus,   the   commitment   to   implementation   of   the   Convention   on   the   Rights   of   the   Child   and   the   Universal   Declaration   of   Human   Rights   is   inscribed   as   a   basic   guide   to   expand   children's   education.   One   conceives   that   early   childhood   education   in   Timor-­‐Leste   deeply   embedded   in   a   national   culture,  which  is  a  living  and  dynamic  organism  and,  therefore,  permanently  changing.  That   CULTURE2     is   a   complex   sum   of   a   variety   of   local   cultures   from   which   school,   namely   the   "pre-­‐school”  should  be  an  integral  part,  progressively  introducing  the  child,  and  their  families   and  community  in  a  wider  culture  which  integrates  and  transcends  the  local  culture.   ETHICS  and  AESTHETICS,  the  sense  of  beauty  and  good,  of  justice,  as  well  as  the  reverence  of   TRANSCENDENT  are  still  part  of  the  Timorese  ethos.  We  can’t  forget  the  deep  sense  of  the   religious   as   part   of   East   Timorese   culture   and   of   its   experience   of   resistance.   Preschools   should   emphasize   that   dimension   in   children’s   lives   and   daily   activities   not   forgetting   the   principles  of  religious  diversity.  Preschool  should  integrate  and  broaden  those  values:  spaces   should   be   beautiful   and   rich   in   natural   elements,   recognizing   that   an   area   dedicated   to   contemplation  and  silence  should  be  respected,  while  designing  that  same  classroom.   HOSPITALITY   and   ACCEPTANCE   values   are   also   deep   cultural   values   of   Timor-­‐Leste   people   and   they   should   be   expressed   in   the   way   children,   and   their   families   are   welcomed   at   the   pre-­‐school  within  their  original  culture  diversity.   The   TAIs   metaphor   that   we   are   using   throughout   this   policy   framework   makes   renewed   sense,   as   we   underline   these   values:   the   tais   is   deeply   part   of   East   Timorese   culture,   and   represents  the  interweaving  of  all  these  values.   This  “New  Vision”  leads  to  a  set  of  Strategic  Principles.      

Strategic Principles   -

The need   for   a   New   Social   Commitment   which   includes   other   institutions   beyond   the   school:   municipalities,   health   and   cultural   institutions,   local   associations,   voluntary   organisations,  NGOs,  cooperatives,  unions  and  other  organizations,  etc.;    


It is important to emphasize "culture" as a dynamic and changing concept. Cultures are transformed as they interact with different realities. We think that for Timor-Leste it is essential a dialectical combination between "traditional culture" and "modernity" if we want education to aim for the future. On the other hand, we all know features of traditional cultures that must not be kept as they isolate a country and stop it from entering into a sustainable development.





This new   social   commitment   involves   all   civil   society,   and   demands   more   social   and   community   participation,   becoming   a   true   national   goal   that   must   be   assumed   and   accommodated   not   only   by   the   Ministry   of   Education   but   also   by   other   ministries,   particularly   those   who   have   responsibilities   for   Social   Solidarity   Health,   Justice,,   Finance,   Culture,  State  Administration,  etc.    

This National   Goal   relates   to   the   children   (boys   and   girls)   of   Timor-­‐Leste,   including   the   transmission   of   Timorese   cultural   and   linguistic   heritage   to   the   new   generations,   helping   their   integration   into   the   community,   in   the   wider   society   and   in   their   country,   thus   contributing  to  the  assumption  of  their  citizenship  and  guiding  them  to  the  future.    

The organizational  structure  of  the  Ministry  of  Education  envisages  a  National  Directorate  of   Pre-­‐school  Education:  This  unit  shall  have  its  competencies  and  authority  strengthened  and   must  be  scaled  up  and  duly  equipped  to  assure  articulation  between  ministries  and  regional   and   local   structures   of   civilian   administration,   to   put   into   practice   and   implement   these   political-­‐strategic   guidelines.   This   very   Directorate   shall   promote   the     accreditation   and   make-­‐up   of   all   equipment   for   children’s   pre-­‐school   education   in   Timor-­‐Leste   (public   or     private)..


As a   strategic   guidance,   there   is   a   need   for   the   organization   of   a   set   of   standards   for   development  and  learning  for  children  3  to  5.     The  Ministry  of  Education  must  establish  and  promote  a  clear  policy  of  training  professionals   for  childhood  education,  assuring  the  Bachelor’s  degree,  as  defined  in  the  Strategic  Plan  for   Education   (2010-­‐2030)   and   the   accreditation   of   the   training   already   obtained   by   professionals  in  the  field,  either  in  public  or  private  institutions.    



The Ministry   of   Education   must   also   establish   a   clear   funding   policy   of   structures   for   the   children,   budget   allocation,   directly   funding   the   public   ones   but   at   the   same   time   establishing  funding  allocation  standards  to  private  welfare  institution,  if  the  need  arises.    

In this   sense   this   proposal   is,   metaphorically,   inspired   by   the   design,   construction   and   weaving   of   a   TAIS   for   Children's   Education   in   Timor   Leste.   This   TAIS   will   only   become   possible   after   a   patient   weaving   process,   crossing   skills,   articulating   efforts,   creating   synergies,  anticipating  different  points  of  view,  changing  differences  into  opportunities  and   challenges,  involving  everyone  -­‐  children,  families,  communities,  professionals,  national  and   local   authorities,   organizations   and   agencies   -­‐   in   building   a   true   citizenship   project   whose   never   ending   product   will   be   that   cloth   turned   into   a   form   of   art:   A   Tais   for   Children'   Education  in  Timor-­‐Leste.                                



Timor-­‐Leste’s National  Strategic  Plan  for  Education  2011-­‐2015  states  that:     Regarding   the   organization   of   the   preschool   education   system,   the   National   Education   Act   establishes   that   the   State   is   responsible   for   ensuring   the   existence   of   a   network   of   preschool   education.   The   law   describes   this   pre-­‐school   education   network   as   consisting   of   preschools   from   local   administrations   and   other   private   and   cooperative   entities,   whether   collective   or   individual,  namely  private  social  solidarity  agencies,  parent  associations,  resident  associations,   civic  or  religious  associations  and  union  and  employer  associations  (p.  65)  

According to  these  guidelines  the  National  Directorate  of  Preschool  Education  will  focus  on  the   following  five  strategic  areas:       I.

Expand Availability  of  Quality  Preschool  Education  

1. It is  in  the  scope  of  the  Ministry  of  Education  to  propose  a  National  Strategic  Concept  for   the   expansion   and   development   of   children's   education   in   Timor-­‐Leste   that   coordinates   public   and   private   initiatives   in   an   effective   way,   so   as   to   build   a   "national   network   of   facilities   for   young   children".   These   can   have   several   names:   day   nursery,   early   childhood   centre,   kindergartens,   preschools,   kindergarten-­‐school,   childhood   community   centres…We   will  be  using  in  the  context  of  this  Policy  Framework  the  terminology  preschools,  aware  that   they  have  different  ways  of  being  organized.  .Carrying  out  these  political  guidelines  at  the   highest  level    Ministry  of  Education  will  ensure  that  they  are  delivered  at  every  level  of  the   system,   adding   to   a   collective   transformation   process   and   aiming   at   an   education   that   promotes  effective  social  equity.     2. It   is,   however,   on   the   Ministry   of   Education   to   define   a   Unique   Pedagogical   Supervision   (Pedagogical   Responsibility)   of   all   initiatives   related   to   education   of   children   from   3   to   5   years   old,   whether   public,   municipal,   private   or   linked   to   non-­‐governmental   organizations   or   local   communities   initiatives.   This   pedagogical   supervision   implies   that   the   Ministry   of   Education   plays   a   supportive   role   in   promoting   initiatives   including   flexible   propositions.   However,   the   Ministry   of   Education   must   also   guide   to   ensure   accuracy   and   quality   requirements   without   waving   its   guiding   role   as   a   guide,   regulator,   supervisor   and   guaranteeing   accountability.   The   Ministry   of   Education   also   has   to   guarantee   equity,   e.g.,   ensuring  justice  in  order  to  compensate  social  and  regional  differences  and  inequalities.       3. From   this   Unique   Pedagogical   Supervision   springs   the   establishment   of   learning   and   development  goals,  teaching  institution's  rules  and  activities  framework    and  the:   • definition  of  minimum  technical  standards  for  installing  or  upgrading  of  institutions;     • child  to  adult  ratios;   • definition  of  a  set  of  curriculum  guidelines  and  learning  and  development  standards   for  3  to  5  years  old  children;     • the   definition   of   initial   qualification   and   initial   and   on-­‐the-­‐job   training   of   the   teaching  staff;   • the  definition  of  rules  to  encourage  quality  assessments  of  the  preschools  ensuring   a  connection  with  the  implementation  and  coordination  of  compulsory  education;   • assessment   and   supervision   in   close   liaison   with   the   local   authorities   and   local   communities.       4. In   the   Ministry   of   Education,   the   National   Directorate   of   Preschool   Education   may,   within   the   framework   in   which   it   operates,   extend   to   2   or   3   early   childhood   specialists,   with   the   capacity,   autonomy,   authority   and   "agility"   needed   to   direct   and   have   a   constant  


relationship with   district   and   local   education   authorities   and   NGOs   in   order   to   rapidly   implement   this   Strategic   Plan.   This   National   Directorate   besides   all   above   described   tasks,   should   provide   technical   support   and   develop   initiatives   that   promote   innovation   and   research   aiming   to   guarantee   and   improve   the   quality   of   services   to   young   children.   The   existing   Grupo   Estratégico   para   a   Educação   de   Infância   (Strategic   Group   for   Early   Childhood   Education)   will   be   the   advisory   group   of   this   Unit   and   should   monitor   and   evaluate   systematically   the   work   and   guidelines   set..The   Grupo   Estratégico   para   a   Educação   de   Infância   (Strategic   Group   for   Early   Childhood   Education),   will   support   the   National   Directorate   of   Preschool   Education   activity.   This   strategic   group   might   include   representatives   of   UNICEF   and   CONECTIL   (National   Council   for   Catholic   Education),   the   National   Committee   for   Implementation   of   the   Convention   on   the   Rights   of   the   Child,   Teacher   Training   Institute,   UNESCO   National   Committee,   as   well   as   representatives   of   agencies   and   NGOs   that   provide   early   childhood   services   in   Timor-­‐Leste,   associations   representing   families   and   childhood   professionals,   women   organizations   and   organizations   linked  to  Justice  (Protection  of  Minors,  etc.).       5. Another   key   guideline   is   Decentralization.   If   the   role   of   Ministry   of   Education   will   be   the   accreditation   of   early   childhood   centres   as   well   the   accreditation   of   previous   training   of   teachers;   providing   them   further   training,.   Responsibilities   need   to   be   given   to   local   administrative  authorities,  local  communities  and  families,  as  well  as  private  initiatives,  so  as   to  provide  quality  preschool  education.       6. Ministry   of   Education   may   develop   and   encourage   alternative   possibilities   of   developing   a   preschool   experience   for   children   in   most   isolated   areas   by   sending   itinerant   teachers   to   visit   families,   helping   them   to   create   in   their   own   homes   educational   environments   and   experiences   for   their   young   children,   providing   adequate   materials,   books   and   activities.   Ministry   of   Education   also   needs   to   find   ways   to   disseminate   information   to   communities,   especially   those   in   most   remote   areas.   Among   other   Initiatives:   television   and   radio   campaigns,  information  in  health  centres  and  community  centres,  etc.         7. Finally,   it   is   not   possible   to   build   a   strategy   for   early   childhood   education   expansion   and   development   in   Timor-­‐Leste   without   reference   to   the   global   development   of   local   communities  (health,  housing,  establishing  means  of  improve  quality  of  life,  culture,  leisure   activities,  etc.)  and  the  perspectives  of  an  inclusive  education  (including  children  previously   diagnosed  with  special  needs)  and  early  intervention  for  children  considered  "at  risk".         II.  Increase  the  training  and  on-­‐going  professional  development  of  preschool   educators         Timor-­‐Leste’s  Strategic  Plan  for  Education  2011-­‐2015  considers  that  “new  packages  for  in-­‐service   and  pre-­‐service  training  will  be  developed  and  implemented”  (p.  69).  The  Government  needs  to   ensure  that  all  previous  training,  developed  by  the  Ministry  of  Education  or  other  private   entities   is   accredited.   Like   it   was   mentioned   before,   this   becomes   a   critical   issue.   Short   refreshment   courses  in  the  areas  were  teachers  reveal  to  be  more  vulnerable,  may  be  implemented.  School   centred   training   modalities   are   proved   to   be   useful,   as   well   as   mentorship   focused   on   school-­‐ oriented   reflection   and   reformulation   of   practice   towards   an   educational   autonomy,   under   the   guidance  of  consultants,  mentors  or  other  senior  experts.   This   National   Strategic   Plan   presents   a   program   for   qualifying   teachers   for   all   pre-­‐school   classrooms:   -

design staffing  formulas  and  staffing  plans  for  the  expansion  of  early  childhood  education;  



design new   in-­‐service   programs   to   qualify   teachers   according   to   the   new   curriculum   standards;   prepare   and   implement   an   in-­‐service   training   program   for   all   teachers   already   working   in   preschool  settings;   ensure   an   adequate   number   of   teachers   graduating   from   pre-­‐service   institutions   are   qualified  with  the  required  competencies  to  work  in  the  preschools  (p.  70).  

It is  to  be  emphasized  the  crucial  importance  of  the  training  of  teachers  and  caregivers  and  the   need   for   common   parameters   within   their   own   professional   exercise:   their   upgrading,   the   standardization  of  every  guideline  (adequate  for  each  level  of  education),  benefits,  status,  work   conditions  and  wages.         The   professional   pre-­‐school   teacher   is   not   limited   to   affectionately   welcome   or   watch   over   children.   That   attitude   of   welcoming   and   hospitality   is   fundamental.   But   the   professional   is   someone  who  can  internalize  to  set  a  purpose  for  his/her  educational    activities  in  order  to  adjust   their   practices   to   the   group   of   children   that   she   welcomes   in   the   pre-­‐school,   allowing   for   the   pursuit  of  learning  targets.  The  professional  takes  effective,  critical  and  constructive  ownership   of   national   curriculum   guidelines   and   manages   the   curriculum   with   educational   autonomy   and   informed  insight  because  he/she  previously  diagnosed  and  characterized  his/her  real  educational   situation.  This  is  what  defines  his/her  professionalism:   -

theoretical and   practical   knowledge   on   his/her   function   and   children   growth   and   development;   autonomy  and  ability  to  plan  curriculum  and  activities;   ability  to  assess  situations  and  to  pay  special  attention  to  individual  children  and  tailor   their  needs  to  these  situations;   ability  to  intervene  early  when  children  reveal  difficulties  and  develop  for  them  adjusted   action   plans   or   to   refer   them   to   the   relevant   departments:   health,   special   needs   education,  justice,  etc.   ability  to  work  in  teams  with  other  educators  or  teachers  and  with  local  authorities;   ability   to   prepare   children   for   transition   and   coordinate   effectively   with   the   primary   school  and  with  families,  health,  justice  institutions,  etc.;   ability  to  involve  the  families  in  the  educational  process;   ability   to   achieve   objectives,   to   define   strategies   and   assess   his/her   action,   rendering   his/her   work   transparent   and   subject   to   scrutiny   by   his/her   peers,   families   and   communities,  supervisors  and/or  trainers;   ability   to   permanently   question   and   learn   about   his/her   practice,   innovating,   testing,   researching.  

One important   possibility   may   represent   a   joint   training   for   preschool   and   primary   school   teachers,  at  least  emphasizing  some  common  dimensions  of  their  training.  This  may  create  the   grounds  for  future  cooperation  and  facilitate  the  transition  from  preschool  to  primary.     III.  Support  Curriculum  Development     1.  What  is  a  Child?  (Labarik)   Each  Timorese  child  is  a  “pro-­‐active  citizen  participant  in  a  democratic  nation”.  Therefore  every   child   (labarik)   is   considered   integrated   in   his/her   particular   communities:   family,   local   community,   the   village   and   its   Liurai   and   other   reference   responsible   adults   and   entities:   the   katuas,  the  aiknanoik-­‐na‘in,  the  matan-­‐dook  and,  of  course,  the  church/es.  Thus,  early  childhood   education   in   Timor-­‐Leste   is   polycentric,   the   local   community   taking   care   of   each   child   as   a   precious  asset,  which  protects  and  brings  her  as  part  of  its  project  for  the  future  -­‐  a  project  of  


development, culture,   education,   well-­‐being   and   peace.   But,   simultaneously,   the   community   respects  the  child  as  a  real  member  of  that  community  from  which  she  is  not  the  centre  but  an   integral   part,   with   right   to   expression   and   active   citizenship,   whether   a   boy   or   a   girl,   Timor-­‐Leste   national  or  not,  belonging  to  either  ethnic  group,  a  different  religion  or  a  particular  social  group   or  another.     It  is  internationally  assumed  that  the  centre  of  her  own  education  should  be  the  child  herself.  –   child  centered  education  and  learning.  The  child  is  central,  a  social  actor  within  the  community,   with   rights   and   responsibilities,   considering   older   children,   adults   and   elderly   people   as   essential   references   to   his/her   own   development.   The   child   lives   within   the   Tais   weaved   by   these   interactions.     Using   the   Tais   metaphor,   the   child   is   an   integral   part   of   that   fabric   that   achieves   its   artistic   splendour   when   threads   mutually   intertwine   and   support   each   other   in   an   adequately,   supportively  and  consistently  manner.    That  Tais  design  that  weaves  the  child's  own  needs  and   rights,   emphasizes   the   right   to   protection,   health,   food,   education   and,   last   but   not   the   least...   the  right  to  play.   In   this   "polycentric"   concept   of   early   childhood   education   there   is   the   need   to   create   “child   friendly   spaces”:   the   concern   that   every   child   is   included   in   the   life   of   the   group,   particularly   those   with   special   needs   or   coming   from   more   vulnerable   family   and   social   situations.   In   a   polycentric  childhood  education,  no  child  can  be  left  behind  or  excluded,  which  implies  a  deep   care  and  attention  from  the  teachers.   The   regulatory   role   of   the   Ministry   of   Education   must   oversee   that   there   are   no   pre-­‐school   "ghettos":   preschools   from   diverse   initiatives   (public,   private   non-­‐profit,   NGO’s   initiative,   church/es   initiatives   etc.)   must   include   children   from   different   socio-­‐economic   and   cultural   groups.   It   will   represent   a   serious   adverse   effect   of   the   early   childhood   education   expansion     plan  if  this  creation  of  "ghettos"  happens.     2.  Pedagogical  and  Curricular  Considerations   This  section  illustrates  what  can  be  a  Unique  Pedagogical  Supervision  Standards  for  the  creation   and   equipment   of   preschools   will   be   prepared.   Suggestions   of   pedagogical   materials     (books,   puzzles,   toys   –   all   relevant   to   East   Timor   culture),   but   also   repurposed   materials   and   materials   coming   from   the   natural   environment   around   the   preschool.   It   is   crucial   to   create   a   set   of   curriculum   guidelines   (framework)     (necessarily   broad,   in   order   to   integrate   a   diversity   of   curriculum   models   that   may   already   exist   in   NGO’s   and   other   organizations   .But   it   is   very   important   that   Ministry   of   Education   makes   clear   that   these   are   National   Guidelines   for   all   preschool  initiatives  in  Timor-­‐Leste  education:  public,  private,  denominational  and  NGOs.  It  is  for   each  educational  institution  to  reinterpret  and  match  them  to  one's  context.     The   metaphor   of   the   “TAIS”   will   continue   to   be   used,   as   a   long   living   piece   of   cloth   which   represents  the  way  the  teaching  action  needs  to  be  focused,  intersecting  a  multiplicity  of  levels   and  areas  of  the  setting  that  presently  host  3  to  5  year  old  children:  professional  diversity;  the   need   to   "weave"   teaching   work   closely   in   line   with   families   and   communities,   a   curriculum   organization   that   will   not   separate   learning   milestones   from   subject   areas   -­‐   reading/writing,   mathematics,  social  and  natural  sciences,  arts,  citizenship  education  and  even  spiritual  education   –   and   having   different   development   areas   as   "backdrop”   –     physical,   emotional,   social   and   cognitive;   therefore   working   as   a   tais.   This   conceptual   theory   is   essential   to   understand   this   "weaving"   work,   as   a   loom   that   creates   inter-­‐disciplinarily,   curriculum   coherence   and   knowledge   integration.            


3. Learning  and  Development  Goals   It  is  to  be  emphasized  that  in  the  pre-­‐school  the  child  will  intertwine  smoothly  the  TAIS  of  his/her   overall   development   and   learning   but   discovers   that   one   is   competent   by   being   with   others,   endowed  with  initiative  and  a  critical  sense  of  being  an  interdependent  young  child.  Due  to  these   principles  the  following  development  goals  are  established:   • Learn   to   know   yourself   and   your   potential:   Who   am   I?   What   is   my   name   and   how   to   write   it?   Who   is   my   family?   My   birthday?   My   favourite   friends?   My   body   and   what   makes   it   healthy?   -­‐   to   recognize   one's   value   as   an   individual,   as   boy   or   girl,   one's   potential  and  personal  difficulties,  in  a  gradual  autonomy  and  positively  integrating  the   sense   of   self-­‐esteem,   self-­‐respect   and   self-­‐confidence,   as   well   as   care   for   their   own   health;   • Learn  to  know  those  around  him/her:  her  family,  siblings,  elderly,  relatives,  teacher  and   his/her   assistants,   group   colleagues,:   to   learn   how   to   establish   relationships   of   care,   respect   and   cooperation;   learning   about   how   to   communicate   despite   diverse   languages.  That  may  be  spoken  in  the  classroom.   • Learn  to  recognize  and  appreciate  the  physical  and  social  environment:  school  and  its   own   organization   and   operation   rules;   their   family   and   the   significant   people   in   their   lives.   The   traditions   and   rhythms   of   the   community,   history   and   traditions   of   their   village,   town.   Also,   basic   habits   of   hygiene   and   health;   foods   that   make   children   grow   and   those   that   are   not   good   for   their   health.   The   natural   and   social   environment   surrounding  the  school;  the  wider  universe  of  the  city  and  the  country  where  they  live.   The   awareness   that   their   country   is   not   the   centre   of   the   world,   that   there   are   other   children,  other  countries,  other  continents,  that  the  Earth's  resources  are  limited  and  we   must  respect,  protect  and  love  the  environment.   • Learning  to  master  the  instruments  that  make  possible  for  them  to  communicate  and   express   themselves:   to   speak   their   mother   tongue   clearly,   to   begin   learning   a   second   language,  to  learn  to  listen  to  other  children,  even  if  they  do  not  speak  their  language  or   dialect;  to  understand  the  guidelines  of  the  teacher/educator,  to  learn  the  rules  of  social   life   in   a   group:   to   ask   to   speak   waiting   their   turn   to   speak,   to   try   to   understand   the   ones   who   speak   differently;   to   connect   the   words   that   makes   oral   formulations   to   the   corresponding   graphical   representation   (writing);   to   recognize   written   words   that   indicate   their   name,   the   days   of   the   week,   areas   of   the   classroom,   pieces   of   furniture,   games  and  material,  names  of  food,  of  body  parts,  etc.     • Learn  that  oral  and  written  language  are  not  the  only  form  of  communication:  to  learn   to   communicate   and   express   themselves   with   gestures,   signs,   silences,   songs   and   music,   sounds   produced   by   their   own   body   and   in   interaction   with   other’s   bodies,   dance;   expression  through  short  poems,  songs  and  oral  tradition  (chanting  or  nursery  rhymes),   dance,   performing   arts;   to   learn   that   our   gesture   may   be   extended   to   use   other   expressive   instruments:   the   line   drawn   on   the   ground   with   a   stick,   the   alignment   of   stones   or   shells,   the   drawing   or   painting   on   a   sheet   of   paper;   cutting   and   making   of   collages,  three  dimensional  constructions,  the  painting  of  large  collective  posters  agreed   among  children,  the  creation  of  books,  playing  musical  instruments,  etc.     • Learn   that   mathematics   is   a   way   of   organizing   the   world   and   solving   problems:   mathematics   is   a   way   to   organize   and   systematise  life   -­‐   the   numbers   and   patterns,   to   be   situated   in   space   and   time,   size   and   proportion,   before   and   after,   left   and   right   (and   other  forms  of  orientation  in  space),  the  shapes  and  colours,  sets  and  singular  pieces,  all   are   natural   ways   that   human   beings   gradually   discovered   to   simplify   life.   The   organization   (mathematics)   follows   from   that   same   process:   to   order,   classify,   to   organize  sets,  measurements,  weight...     • Learn   that   we   can   grow   by   investigating   and   questioning   reality   (introduction   to   research  and  scientific  thinking,  using  a  methodology  of  “project  work”):  why  things  are   like  this?  How  can  they  be  different?  How  many  hypotheses  are  there?  What  predictions   can  be  made?  What  we  already  know  about  a  given  problem  or  situation  and  what  we   still  need  to  know?  Who  does  what?  When  do  we  gather  to  share  information?  Have  we  


checked our  assumptions?  Have  we  tested  them?  What  were  the  results?  Which  wrong   deductions  did  we  make?  What  have  we  learned  afresh?  How  to  spread  to  others  what   we   have   learned?   Perhaps   “begin   to   learn   by   using   other   relevant   technology   and   media”?   Learning  to  contemplate  the  good,  the  beautiful,  the  transcendent,  experimenting  the   joy  of  being  alive  and  healthy  and  aware  of  being  interdependent  from  each  other:  to   listen   to   others   and   help   them,   without   taking   away   their   dignity,   to   respect   and   welcome  differences,  to  learn  with  other  children  and  adults,  including  teachers,  to  learn   to  cooperate,  to  appreciate  silence  but  also  the  noisy  and  spontaneous  play;  in  nature  to   admire  the  surrounding  beauty,  to  learn  to  be  supportive  and  learn  citizenship  practice   and   participation   at   their   level   and   to   the   extent   of   their   possibilities   to   rely   religious   experiences  with  the  sense  of  the  transcendence.  

  4.  Relationship  with  Primary  Education   The  issue  of  transition  to  primary  education  is  crucial  and  has  been  for  long  time  internationally   discussed.  Transition  is  essential  in  a  child's  life  and  it  is  important  to  ensure  that  any  transition  is   successful,   so   as   to   ensure   the   emotional   and   social   well-­‐being   of   the   child:   from   the   family   to   the  reception  service  for  children  from  0  to  3  years  old  or  to  the  pre-­‐school;  and  from  pre-­‐school   to  primary  education.   Since  the  seventies,  international  studies  explained  the  necessity  of  organizing  more  flexibly  the   last  pre-­‐school  year  and  the  first  year  of  compulsory  education,  and  intentionally  preparing  the   transition.  For  many  years,  it  was  thought  that  a  positive  contribution  in  primary  education  was   made  through  direct  induction  procedures,  namely  using  initiation  to  writing  and  reading  cards   or   graphical   exercises   on   graph   paper.   More   recent   studies   point   to   a   broad   set   of   key   skills   indicating  a  positive  insertion  into  compulsory  schooling:     - the    capability  to  learn  to  learn;     - social  cooperation  skills;   - self-­‐confidence  and  capability  of  children  to  integrate  and  assert  themselves  in  a  group   of  peers:  some  authors  call  this  ability  the  agency,  which  implies  that  the  child  is  active,   conscious   of   her   own   power,   knowing   that   they   are   valuable   and   important   and,   therefore,  able  to  make  an  important  contribution  to  the  diverse  social  groups  they  are   part  of;   - the   ability   of   self-­‐control,   including   individual   control,   concentration   and   coping   with   failure;   - the  acquisition  of  work  habits  which  emerges  from  an  internalized  attitude  of  discipline;   - resilience,   e.g.,   the   ability   to   adapt   and   the   ability   to   cope   with   changes   in   a   positive   and   dynamic  way,  considering  the  difficulties  or  problems  as  a  stimulus  and  an  opportunity;   resilience   leads   the   child   to   be   strong,   optimistic,   with   a   dynamic   creativity   in   face   of   adversity,  positively  incorporating  them  in  their  development.   Through  the  development  of  these  skills,  preschool  teachers  and  primary  school  must  create   processes   of   transition.   They   can   see   identify   work   areas   that   may   facilitate   good   articulation.  In  this  context  there's  no  more  this  or  that  (insisting  in  the  differences),  there   will   be   this   and   that,   assuming   an   attitude   of   inclusion   and   cooperation,   of   negotiation,   mutual   respect,   curiosity   for   what   is   happening   in   every   level   of   education   and   furthermore,   an  attitude  of  wanting  to  learn  from  the  other  educational  level.       IV.  Development  of  Family  and  Community  Partnerships     Children's   original   families   and   communities   are   essential   partners   in   the   construction   of   reception  projects  and  structures  of  care.  They  must  be  heard  and  integrated  into  the  design  of  


education proposals   for   their   children.   On   the   other   hand,   children's   settings   should   reflect   a   sense  of  community  life,  teaching  children  to  live  together  in  the  context  of  diversity.  Preschool   teachers   must   begin   their   work   using   a   pedagogy   of   articulation   with   families.   Families   can   socially  and  educationally  benefit  from  the  institutions  their  children  attend.  Attention  needs  to   be  paid  to  the  original  maternal  language  of  each  family.  The  child  should  enter  preschool  having   there  an  adult  (preschool  teachers  or  assistant  teachers)  who  speaks  her  mother  tongue.   The   institutions   for   children   can   became   a   driving   force   for   life   in   the   community,   promoting   language   and   culture,   including   projects   for   adult   education   and   training,   specifically   for   women.   Preschool   teachers   must   also   find   diverse   strategies   to   involve   the   families,   especially   those   who   have   more   difficulty   in   getting   to   the   preschool.   Preschool   teachers   should   listen   to   the   perspectives   of   families,   guiding   them,   but   always   making   them   feel   competent   and   confident   of   their   role   in   educating   their   children.   Families   are   an   essential   resource   for   the   school.   International   studies   indicate   that   there   is   no   quality   in   early   childhood   education   without   an   effective   involvement   of   families.   The   involvement   of   families   and   communities   is   part   of   a   political  strategy  of  local  inclusion  of  the  institution  for  the  children.  A  broad  and  comprehensive   concept   of   family   is   taken,   as   an   unconditional   community   of   affection   and   care   for   children,   regardless  of  how  it  is  structured.   Ministry   of   Education   needs   to   support   the   creation   of   parent   associations   or   even   parent/teachers   associations   and   take   them   as   important   entities   when   developing   this   strategic   plan.         V.  Development  of  a  standards  based  monitoring  and  evaluation  system     The   Government   must   regulate,   supervise,   monitor   and   inspect.   At   the   same   time,   the   government   role   is   to   include,   promote,   decentralize   and   encourage   by   providing   support,   promoting  innovation,  autonomy,  accountability  and  research.   The  Government  must  also:   -




Recognize the   possibility   of   different   forms   of   children's   services   in   the   years   3   to   5   in   adapting  to  local  context  and  possibilities,  but  always  safeguarding  the  educational  role   and   support   for   families.   Timor-­‐Leste   Strategic   Plan   for   Education   2011-­‐2015   aims   at     “providing   a   revised   plan   of   government   school   buildings,   either   reutilizing   empty   classrooms   to   open   newly   early   childhood   classrooms   or   building   new   classrooms   in   existing  schools  (p.  69);   Establishing   educational   and   technical   standards   and   criteria   for   preschools   and/or   its   adaptation:   financing,   facilities,   materials   and   equipment   rules,   schedules   of   the   facilities,  families'  contributions,  broad  curriculum  guidelines.  Timor-­‐Leste  Strategic  Plan   for   Education   2011-­‐2015   highlights   also   “the   preparation   of   school   accreditation   policies   and  guidelines  for  registration  and  operation  of  private  schools  will  be  necessary  to  later   monitoring  the  functioning  of  the  system”  (p.  69);   Enhancement   of   professionals   and   auxiliary   staff   and   their   commitment   to   initial   and   continuous  training;   To   guarantee   health   conditions   for   the   children   who   will   attend   pre-­‐schools:   immunizations,   adequate   food   and   health.   This   can   be   achieved   in   coordination   with   local   health   clinics   or   community   health   centres.   To   study   the   possibility   of   providing   nutritional  meals  in  preschools   Encourage   involvement   of   local   communities   in   preschools,   its   representatives   and   leaders,   holding   them   responsible   and   assigning   them   supervision   and   regulation   tasks   in  cooperation  with  local  administration;  




Timor-­‐Leste Strategic  Plan  for  Education  2011-­‐2015  considers  ”the  need  to  develop  and   implement   a   system   to   monitor   and   assure   preschool   quality   (…)   and   develop   school   standard  criteria  and  develop  standards  for  pre-­‐schools”(p.  71).  The  role  of  the  Ministry   of  Education  is:  to  define  rules  to  assess  the  quality  of  preschools  from  the  educational   and   social   point   of   view;   assigning   assessment   parameters   according   to   curriculum   guidelines:   promoting   democratic   evaluation   projects,   focused   on   listening   to   the   pre-­‐ schools   and   related   personnel;   setting   progressive   goals/targets   for   improvement   promoted  by  the  school  team  who  will  be  responsible  for  its  implementation  ;involving   professionals,  families  and  children  in  the  process  of  change;   Ensure  justice  and  social  equity,  safeguarding  the  principle  of  equal  opportunities  :   Discriminate   in   favour,   of   the   most   disadvantaged   children,   ensuring   them   preschools   of   high  quality:  their  families  are  less  informed  in  order  to  demand  high  quality  services  for   their  young  children;     Ensure   updated   and   reliable   statistics   and   accurate   charts   of   the   coverage   ratios   for   preschools  throughout  the  country,  identifying  their  type;   Promote   research   and   systematic   assessment   of   the   implementation   of   the   Policy   Framework  for  Preschool  Education  in  Timor-­‐Leste  and  the  implementation  of  its  Action   Plan   for   next   five   years   It   is   crucial   to   produce   evidence   based   research,   using   case   studies,  studies  of  evaluation,  pilot  implementation,  etc.  

The challenges  ahead  depend  on  a  joint  forces  project.  This  means  to  weave  these  policies   into  work.  Again  the  metaphor  of  the  TAIS  that  has  been  used  makes  sense.  Only  through   networking,   bringing   together   efforts   under   a   clear   leadership,   it   is   possible   to   make   this   TAIS   happen:   a   system   of   multiple   players   under   the   coordination   of   the   Ministry   of   Education.  



Fundação Alola  (2010,  December).Education  and  Literacy  Program  National  Report.  Timor-­‐Leste   FundaçãoAlola.   Azevedo,  J.  (2011)  interview  in  Jornal  de  Letras  nr.  1063,  July  2011.   World   Bank   (2009)   EGRA   Report:   Análise   da   Aquisição   de   LeituranosPrimeirosAnos   de   Escolaridade.  Timor-­‐Leste  A  World  Bank  Report.   Brooker,   L.   &   M.   Woodehead   (Org.)   2010.Cultura   y   Aprendizaje.   London:   The   Open   University   Press,  supported  by  Fundação  Van  Leer.   Daniels,  H.  et  al  (2007).  Learning  in  and  for  multiagency  working.  Oxford  Review  of  Education,  33,   nr.4:  521-­‐538.).   Child-­‐to-­‐Child  Trust  (2011,  September).Policy  Statement.  Photocopied  document.  Timor-­‐Leste   Democratic  Republic  of  Timor  Leste  (2004).ECCD  National  Policy.   Edwards,   A.   (2005).   Relational   Agency:   Learning   to   be   a   resourceful   practitioner.   International   Journal  of  Educational  Research,  43:  168-­‐182.)     Engeström,   Y.,   Engeström,   R.   &Vähähö,   T.   (1999).   When   the   Centre   does   not   hold:   The   importance   of   Knotworking.   In:   S.   Chaiklin,   M.   Hedegaard&   U.   J.   Jensens   (Eds).   Activity   Theory   and  Social  Practice:  Cultural-­‐Historical  Approaches  (345-­‐374).  Aarhus  University  Press.     Gusmão,  K.  S.  (2004).  Uma  Mulher  da  Independência.  Lisboa:  Quetzal.   Konkola,  R.  (2001).  Developmental  process  of  interethnic  and  boundary-­‐zones  activity,  cited  in:   T.  Tuomi-­‐Gröhn  and  Y.  Engeström  (Eds.)  2003.  Between  School  and  Work:  New  perspectives  on   transfer  and  boundary  zones.  Oxford:  Pergamon.       Ministério   da   Educação/DGIC   (Portugal)   (2010).   Metas   de   AprendizagemparaaEducaçãoPré-­‐ Escolar.   Landers,   C.   (2010,   August).A   Review   of   Early   Child   Development   Activities   in   Timor-­‐Leste.   Trip   Report.  Submitted  to  UNICEF  and  OSI-­‐ECP.   Lata,  Dyvia  (2010,  January).  Report  on  the  Rapid  Assessment  of  Early  Childhood  Development  in   Timor-­‐Leste.  A  Report  to  OSI  Early  Childhood  Program.   Mattoso,   J.   (2005).   A   Dignidade:   Konis   Santana   e   a   ResistênciaTimorense.   Lisboa:   Temas   e   Debates.   Ministério   da   Educação   (2010).   Plano   Estratégico   2010-­‐2030.ResumoExecutivo.   PP1:   EducaçãoPré-­‐Escolar.   Ministério  da  Educação  (2008).  Quadro  das  CompetênciasparaProfessores  de  Timor-­‐Leste.   Ministry   of   Education   and   Culture   (2004).ECCD   National   Policy   –   Democratic   Republic   of   Timor   Leste.   OECD  (2009).Doing  Better  for  Children.  Paris:  OCDE.     OECD  (2006).Starting  Strong  II:  Early  Education  and  Care.  Paris:  OCDE.     Santos,   B.   S.   (2000).   A   Crítica   da   RazãoIndolente:   Contra   o   desperdício   da   experiência.   Porto:  


Afrontamento.     Timor  Leste  National  Strategic  Plan  for  Education  2011-­‐2015.Ministry  of  Education.     UNESCO   East   Timor   National   Committee   and   Ministério   da   Educação(s/d).EducaçãoMultilingueBaseadanaLínguaMaterna:   PolíticaNacional.   East   Timor:   UNESCO/MoE.   UNESCO   East   Timor   National   Committee   and   UNICEF   (2011)   First   Language   First:   Multilingual   Education   for   Timor-­‐Leste,   Implementation   Plan.   Timor-­‐Leste   UNESCO   East   Timor   National   Committee   UNICEF   (2011,   March).Timor-­‐Leste   National   Inclusive   Education   Policy   (Draft   3).   UNICEF.   East   Timor:  Working  Paper.   Vasconcelos,  T.  (2009).  AEducação  de  Infância  no  Cruzamento  de  Fronteiras.Lisboa:  Texto.   Woodhead,  M.  (1996).  In  Search  of  the  Rainbow:   Pathways  to  quality  in  large-­‐scale  programmes   for  young  disadvantaged  children.  The  Hague:  Bernard  Van  Leer  Foundation.  



Acronyms   CONECTIL  –  National  Council  for  Catholic  Education   ECEWG  –  Early  Childhood  Education  Working  Group   EMIS  –  Education  Management  Information  System   ICRC  –  International  Convention  on  the  Rights  of  the  Child   IEU  –  Inclusive  Education  Unit   IFU  –  Infrastructure  Unit   INFORDEPE  –Instituto  Nacional  de  Formação  de  Docentes  e  Profissionais  de  Educação   INGO  –  International  Non-­‐Governmental  Organization   MOE  –  Ministry  of  Education   MOH  –  Ministry  of  Health   MOJ  –  Ministry  of  Justice   MSA  –  Ministry  of  State  Administration  (Estatal)   MSS  –  Ministry  of  Social  Solidarity   NESP-­‐  National  Education  Strategic  Plan   NDPE  –  National  Directorate  of  Preschool  Education   NGO  –  Non-­‐Governmental  Organization   PTA-­‐  Parents-­‐Teachers  Association   SAD  –  School  Accreditation  Department        



Glossary   Culture   -­‐   It   is   important   to   emphasize   "culture"   as   a   dynamic   and   changing   concept.   Cultures   are   transformed   as   they   interact   with   different   realities.   In   Timor-­‐Leste   there   is     a   dialectical   combination  between  "traditional  culture"  and  "modernity"  if  we  want  education  to  aim  for  the   future.  On  the  other  hand,  we  all  know  features  of  traditional  cultures  that  must  not  be  kept  as   they  isolate  a  country  and  stop  it  from  entering  into  a  sustainable  development.       Day-­‐care   –   terminology   usually   used   to   describe   services   for   children   from   0   to   3   (the   word   crèche,  from  French  origin,  is  also  frequently  used   Early  Childhood  Education  –    this  term  is  used  on  a  broader  sense  than  “preschool”:  it  indicates   all  activities  for  care  and  development  and  education  for  children  from  3  to  5.     Early  Childhood  Care  and  Development  –  this  term  is  used  to  define  all  care,  development  and   educational  activities  for  children  from  birth  to  8   Kindergarten   –   terminology   from   German   origin   indicates   preschools   for   children   from   3   to   5.   In   certain   countries   it   correspond   to   the   year   before   entering   primary   school   (see   also:   pre-­‐primary   classroom)   Preschool   Education   –   all   activities   (social,   educational,   health   related,   etc.)   that   prepare   children  for  the  entry  in  compulsory  school   Preschool  teacher-­‐  Professional  teacher  working  with  children  from  3  to  5.  Other    denominations   may  be:  kindergarten  teacher,  early  childhood  educator   Pre-­‐primary  classroom  –  usually  attached  to  a  primary  school  this  pre-­‐primary  is  oriented  for  a   more  systematic  preparation  of  5  years  old  children  for  primary  school   Resilience   –   ability   to   adapt   and   to   cope   with   changes,   crisis   and   difficult   circumstances     in   a   positive  and  dynamic  way   School  Accreditation  –  recognition  that  a  school  (or  preschool)  operates  according  to  standards   defined  by  Government   Teacher   Accreditation   –   recognition   of   previous   training   (both   formal   and   non   formal)   and   experience    of  teachers                    






A policy framework for pre school education  

Policy on Pre-School Education produced by the Ministry of Education of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

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