He stressed that it is very important for children to have high quality personal care and learning experiences and commended Book Aid International UK for developing the managerial skills of children librarians all over the country.
Mr. Turay said that positive early learning experiences are very important for the intellectual, social and emotional development of the child as this lays the foundation for later school success. He stressed that growth of mental and physical abilities progress at an astounding rate with a very high proportion in childhood.
Mr. Turay welcomed the Program Manager Book Aid International Judith Henderson to Sierra Leone and thanked Book Aid for contributing immensely in improving the standard of education in the country. He encouraged staff members from the various children's libraries in the country to make good use of the opportunity and develop their Knowledge and Skills in managing Children’s Corner.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Board Prof. Gbamanja stressed that one of his recommendation of his commission is the provision for the early childhood education as he believes that Poor performance of pupils in external exams is a consequence of inadequate preparation in early years and inability to complete the prescribed course of study in later years. He said that early childhood Education (ECE) is therefore a prerequisite for primary schooling as it has the potential to provide high-quality, individualized, responsive, and stimulating experiences that will influence the child’s learning experience.
Prof. Gbamanja said that it is very important to build up Children’s Corners in all libraries as early childhood education serves to guide children to appreciate and accept differences and become well-rounded contributors to society. He expressed his sincere thanks and appreciation to Book Aid International for their continued assistance to the Sierra Leone Library Board and pray that they will continue to support the Library.
In her statement, the Program Manager; Book Aid International Judith Henderson said that they believed that librarians are key to communities being able to make the most of their libraries but many professional librarians in Africa have not been trained in how to run a successful children’s library. She said their programs are aimed at improving the reading opportunities for children and work to support specialist training for librarians in working with children.
Mrs. Henderson said that they want to transform libraries into special and welcoming environments for children where young readers are guided to books which will capture their interest, develop their reading skills and where the habit of reading regularly is nurtured. She stressed that through this training, they are building a sustainable network of librarians across Africa where knowledge, ideas and expertise can be shared.
Earlier in her remarks, the Administrative Assistant and Head of Programs at the Sierra Leone Library Board Mrs. Theresa Conteh emphasized that emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become. She noted that is why understanding the need to invest in very young children is so important, so as to maximize their future well-being.
Mrs. Conteh encouraged participants as early childhood educators they need to balance this zest with the ability to listen, follow directions, attend to tasks and participate in group activities to develop the critical life skill of concentration of the children. A strong sense of wellbeing provides children with confidence, optimism and self-esteem which will encourage children to explore their talents, skills and interests. She noted that with positive interactions with other children and teachers it will promote a positive, healthy and secure view of themselves that will allow them to approach situations and problems confidently throughout their lives.