Jamaican Mommies by Shanoy Coombs: From Jamaica; for the world


Jamaican team Launches Globally Respected Early Childhood Parenting Programme

For a long time, Jamaica’s outstanding feats have been linked to successes on the track and musical accomplishments. It is therefore super refreshing when my fellow country men and women excel at academics, politics, international competitions, fashionable showcases, culinary delights and more recently start up companies and ICT inventions. With the recent heart swelling Man Booker win by Jamaican Marlon James it prompted me to blog about yet another outstanding Jamaican based grouping that has been receiving international acclaim in the field of Early Childhood Parenting programmes.

On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, a University of the West Indies based group (Bonus points for my alumni) made their way to the Inter American Development Bank’s (IDB) offices in Washington, D.C to launch an established and highly successful parenting model, aptly called Reach Up: An early childhood parenting programme.  

Some members of the Reach Up Team: Joanne Smith, Kristy Fernandez, Amika Wright Christine Powell, Susan Chang and Susan Walker

But what made this programme so different, so meaningful and successful was the fact that it did not begin today but has been steadily and sometimes even quietly reaping successes over the past 30 years. Beginning as the Jamaica Home Visit Programme of the 1980’s to where it stands today helping parents and their children to “Reach Up” and achieve their full potential.

To date, this programme #FromJamaicaToTheWorld has already been implemented in Jamaica, Bangladesh, India, Brazil, Madagascar and Peru and best of all provides a globally scalable, easy to replicate early childhood development solution. 

What this means is that Reach Up has been designed in such a way that it can be implemented in varied countries and across several different cultural contexts. 

So imagine the excitement as I watched the team from the University of the Mona based Topical Medicine Research Institute (TMRI) present its findings, the model on which this early childhood programme is based and how they had now decided to make this programme available in digital formats globally. The excitement was also shared others in attendance at the Washington, DC based launch with one standout comment being

“We are a bit less lost because of this Jamaican tool” Peter Singer, CEO @gchallenges #ReachUp LIVE fr Washntn D.C. http://t.co/MGIyc7zvH6

— Jamaican Mommies (@JamaicanMommies) September 29, 2015

Since the launch, Reach Up through its website allows prospective users of the early childhood parenting programme to submit their applications for review.  Once approved, institutions, groups and other parenting/early childhood related organizations will be able to access a wealth of information and a ‘parenting kit’  to better assist children in their critical early childhood development years.

A child participates in a Reach Up Home visit session in Kingston, Jamaica

The materials from the Reach Up parenting programme are available via www.reachupandlearn.com in an easy to use download ready format.

The materials include:

  1.  A weekly curriculum for children 6-42 months old, which can be modified to a fortnightly format. This curriculum includes detailed descriptions of how to use the materials during the home visit using developmentally appropriate concepts. 
  2. The supervisor manual gives guidelines on the responsibilities of the supervisor and appropriate observation of the home visits.
  3.  The training manual with demonstration videos assists agencies in the training of the home visitors utilizing an interactive format. The videos were filmed in Jamaica, Peru and Bangladesh.
  4. The adaptation and planning manual which is included in the package can assist agencies to adapt the programme to their cultural context. This manual describes the steps that can be taken and the requirements for setting up a programme in a country.
  5. The toy manual is a useful tool as it guides the agencies on how to make toys using recyclable materials.

For more context on the Reach Up programme, check out the video below:

Stimulation is important for a child’s development. Parents who talk and play with their young children can give them a…
Posted by Reach Up and Learn on Friday, September 4, 2015

For more information on Reach Up: An Early Childhood Parenting Programme read on  and be sure to connect with them via:

Website: www.reachupandlearn.com
Facebook: ReachUpAndLearn
Twitter: @ReachUpandLearn

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Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Thomas Jefferson
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