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Haiti — How Can We Help?
January 26, 2010
Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.
-Theodore Levitt (1925 – 2006), German-American economist
In the past week, many of you have sent in suggestions on how we, as early childhood professionals, can help children, families, and early childhood professionals in Haiti both now and in the long run.  As I had indicated previously, the World Forum Foundation is a member of the Early Childhood in Emergencies Working Group (EEWG), working under the umbrella of the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development, which is working on long-range strategies for children in Haiti.  We will share these plans as they evolve.

In the meantime, we are collecting your views on steps that individual early childhood programs can take to help.  We invite you to share your ideas and opinions in today's Exchange Insta Poll where we are surveying readers on the best ways to provide support in Haiti.  After we have arrived at some consensus on the most favored ideas, we will consult with relief experts and early childhood leaders in Haiti to see if and how these ideas can be acted upon.  It may well turn out that some of the ideas are impractical or inappropriate.  But we will follow your lead and provide implementation ideas on those ideas that may work.

Here are just a few of the ideas that have been suggested so far:
  • Twinning — partnering with an early childhood program in Haiti to exchange communication and to provide support.
  • Sending an early childhood professional to do relief work in Haiti.
  • Collecting early childhood learning materials to send to centers in Haiti.
  • Making an appeal to your families and your community to support Haiti.

In the powerful Exchange resource, Hearing Everyone's Voice: Educating Young Children for Peace and Democratic Community, teachers and parents and children share stories of their struggles to build a democratic community by learning the many ways there are to hear each other given differences in age, ethnicity, gender, culture, and economic background. Filled with practical curriculum ideas, this guidebook integrates peace education, anti-bias perspective, and democratic practice into your curriculum.


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Comments (8)

Displaying 5 of 8 Comments   [ View all ]
Mehra Jalili · January 27, 2010
Mehraeen ECD center
Kerman, Kerman, Iran

In the year 2004 an earthquake shook Bam city near Kerman,Iran. More than 40000 people were killed. It was a disaster. Our NGO, Cildren Friendly Association along with our center after lots of thinking and talking went to Bam.
We knew being with children and working with them to make them tolerate the loss, helps both the child and the care giver. so started gathering as many as young girles and young mothers who had lost their little siblings or their children and started to work with them while empatizing indirectly with them. we were singing, talking, telling stories , talked and talked and talked to each other. that was the greatest help we could offer. when those people sang and talked they felt better . so in this way we had succeeded to do both, helping the children and helping the mothers and young girls in different communities. We never knew that working with children can be so healing to people who had experienced the loss.

Unaisi Vasu Tuivaga · January 27, 2010
Fiji Early Childhood Association / Pacific Preschool Council
Suva, Rewa, Fiji

Right now the most urgent needs are basic needs such as food, water, clothing. After that, then one can start thinking about sending appropriate play materials, toys. The trained ECE people on the ground would be the best ones to work with young children of Haiti...conducting informal playgroup sessions to start off with; including parenting sessions if necessary. We have to be very careful that no one is rushing in to organise things that may not necessarily be what the children and families of Haiti need right now.

Phyllis A. Regan · January 26, 2010
The Carousel School
Waltham, MA, United States

Thank you for sharing. We will talk about how we can help at our monthly teacher's meeting February 7th.

We have enjoyed your magazine since you began many years ago in Belmont.

You have made Early Education recognized throughout the world.

Thank you for your hard work.

Happy New Year to you and your family.

Together we will help Haiti during this difficult time for the families and children.

Lynne Brown · January 26, 2010
Prince George, B.C., Canada

I work with a group of parents and their children in an Aboriginal Infant/Family Development Program. We talked as a staff of what we could do to help Haiti and wanted to also include the families in our program. We know that if we give people the opportunity to be generous then they will especially when they feel compassion or empathy towards others in crisis. We have started a change jar titled "$CHANGE$ for Change for Haiti". Even though a lot of our families are on the poverty line they are digging deep to pull out change and add to the jar. Not only are we helping Haiti we are modelling generosity!

B. Houston · January 26, 2010
United States

I agree with those who said we must be careful in the direction taken. As we know, children who are hungry cannot learn. Survival is priority. We cannot assume that children in Haiti are eating even one meal a day. The emotional trauma children have experienced is another critical aarea that can be addressed by trained staff once hunger needs are met. It is also important to remember the vast majority of adults in Haiti have never received any formal schooling, making parent education equally - or more - important. As first steps, I support financial contributions to the trained agencies on the ground who are experienced in emergency relief efforts....even finding orphaned children will take time.

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