A group of teachers from Bhutan will arrive in Armidale in Australia this month, to learn first-hand about early childhood education at St. Peter’s preschool.
The trip is part of a partnership between the Royal University of Bhutan and researchers from the University of New England (UNE), aimed at developing first Bachelor of Early Childhood course for Bhutan.
Project leader, Dr Margaret Brooks, told local media in Australia Bhutan wants to implement a contemporary, Western program but the UNE team is working to ensure their culture and traditions are also strongly represented.
“We show them what’s happening here and provide them with the literature behind it, then we say but now you have to make some adaptations for the Bhutanese context,” she said.
“The culture there is very different, you can’t do anything in Bhutan without addressing the gross national happiness which is founded on Buddhist philosophies [such as] looking after your environment, looking after each other.
“They look at the interconnectedness of our lives.”
The Bhutanese officials are taking a holistic approach to early childhood education.
“They’ve started early childhood with a view not just for developing the child’s brain but also the whole child and the family,” DR Brooks said.
“It’s being combined with parenting, early stimulation, immunisation, pregnancy and breastfeeding programs.
“They’re looking at not just the child but the whole community around the child.”