The Ministry of Education on Montserrat today launched a media campaign to promote the adoption of positive discipline methods when dealing with children.
“Everyone has a role to play in preparing the necessary positive environment for children to learn effectively and thrive,” stated Representative of the UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area, Aloys Kamuragiye during the virtual launch of the new ‘Positive Discipline campaign’ on Friday morning.
The campaign launch was included representation by several senior members of the UNICEF Office, including the Montserrat liaison Dr. Lisa McLean-Trotman, Ministry counterparts from Antigua & Barbuda, a representative from the Montserrat Governor’s Office, officials from the Ministry of Education, and members of the media. The event was hosted by Nerissa Golden of Goldenmedia LLC, which was contracted to produce the radio and social media public service announcements.
The UNICEF representative commended the Ministry of Education for keeping the child safeguarding and positive discipline high on its agenda. He added that the current world crisis had brought increased stresses on parents.
“Now is not the time to let our guards down,” stated Mr. Kamuragiye. Every effort must be made, he said, to encourage the use of positive discipline techniques as a method for reducing the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on children.
Kamuragiye also expressed thanks to UK Aid for their continued partnership with UNICEF to improve the well-being of children in the Caribbean. “We hope they can keep doing the good work and help us in reaching even more ambitious objectives.”
A 2017 report on positive discipline on Montserrat, which was conducted by UNICEF and funded by UK Aid, showed that 60% of households supported corporal punishment. However, this same group also believed it should be banned and prohibited in schools.
Director of Education, Dr. Gregory Julius said the evidence is clear, that successful behavioural shifts can be achieved if staff, pupils, and parents are involved in the process.
The media campaign was one of the initiatives to accelerate the adoption of positive discipline methods in all settings.
Hyacinth Bramble-Browne, who serves as the Focal Point for the Positive Discipline and Safe School initiatives for the ministry, said they want to encourage positive discipline rather than punishment. “We want to give students the best opportunities they can get. When they can learn how to communicate to teachers and parents, as they grow, they will know how to respond to siblings, colleagues, and be positive citizens,” stated Mrs. Bramble-Browne.
There are a total of four radio announcements and four videos on the theme of Positive Discipline. Nerissa Golden explained that the stories centre around a single mother, who is also a teacher, and the challenges she faces learning how to shift her parenting style to using positive discipline techniques. The PSAs feature Sharlene Lindsay, Sionne Baker, Nia Golden, Mesoma and Princewill Madu, and the voice talent of Kemson Fenton of Island Music Media.
They will be aired on the local radio station ZJB-Radio Montserrat, as well as on various social media channels including the Ministry of Education, Spirit of Montserrat, GIU pages and Discover Montserrat. The video PSAs will also be broadcast on Digicel, Channel 97.