June 23, 2017, Belize City
Through a partnership between the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation and the Expressive Arts Education program under the Institute of Creative Arts, eleven Roving Caregivers completed a training workshop in Early Childhood Development and Puppetry. The two-week training, conducted by Raquel Robles Pacheco with assistance from Jesus Cosio Rivas, taught the “Rovers” how to make and use puppets, as well as how to make sensory books on a variety of topics including manners, shapes and numbers. The puppets will be used when telling stories and singing songs and will also help children to open up more and talk about their feelings.
At a short ceremony on Thursday, June 22, 2017, the “Rovers” showcased their new skills and ICA and Robles-Pacheco handed over a set of anatomical therapy dolls to the Department of Human Services for use by the Child Protection Social Workers in the interviewing of children in child abuse investigations. Over the course of three years, twenty-two “Rovers” have completed the puppetry training for implementation in their work with children and their parents/caregivers.
The Roving Caregivers Program (RCP) is implemented by the Department of Human Services. It is an early childhood development and family support program designed to strengthen the care environment of children from birth to three years. Young and socially vulnerable children who cannot access formal early childhood education and are often exposed to inappropriate practices are targeted for this program. “Rovers” conduct home visits to provide basic information and model skills in child development, stimulation, health and nutrition. Supporting the family in creating the environment for children’s early experiences sets the stage for a child’s lifelong success. The Roving Caregivers Program has been in existence since 2008 and is currently implemented in seven villages in the Toledo District and Southside Belize City.