|Early Child Development: Investing in the Future (WB)|
|Part II. The practice|
|Educating through the mass media|
In Bolivia an interactive radio program designed for use with young children in day care centers teaches children while also teaching the teachers-on how to interact with children and how to facilitate their development.
Bolivia is using an interactive radio program, Jugando en el PIDI, to teach children under six who attend Programa Integrado por Desarrollo Infantil (PIDI) centers, and at the same time to foster productive interaction between children and caregivers. Developed in 1993, the PIDI program seeks to use radio programs and cassettes as a cost-effective way to train teachers in developmentally appropriate techniques. The government agency Organismo Nacional del Menor, Mujer, y Familia is presently developing PIDI centers in the cities of El Alto, Santa Cruz, and Tarija.
For the pilot phase of the PIDI program, forty twenty-minute radio programs were designed around developmentally appropriate objectives for children aged three and four, to improve teachers' understanding of child development and of the activities best suited to each developmental stage. The programs were tested and extensively evaluated in 1993-94. The evaluations of the pilot series of Jugando en el PIDI found that it reflects the child development perspective, curriculum, and activities of the PIDI project by using active learning techniques, emphasizing the importance of learning environments, parents, and community, and providing interactive teacher training. The evaluations also provided continual feedback on the technical quality and pedagogical effectiveness of the programs, used in revising later programs.
Jugando en el PIDI includes stories on the adventures of Don Pancho and Katy, what TClara has in her surprise bag, and the antics of the parrot Ito. Along with new material to be learned, it broadcasts catchy songs (which the children learn quickly), jokes, and activities.
Evaluators concluded that radio programs such as Jugando en el PIDI are a cheap and effective way to train both caregivers, many of whom are uneducated and illiterate, and early child program supervisors, who are frequently too ill-trained themselves to offer helpful advice. By reinforcing each new technique with hands-on experience, interactive radio helped teachers in the pilot program to learn new practices thoroughly and provided a framework around which teachers could organize PIDI program activities. The program also made children more active and alert. Evaluators found that children arriving at the PIDI centers are generally reticent, shy, passive, and nonverbal. Once educated with Jugando en el PIDI techniques, they become more active learners-and therefore far more disruptive in class. To help teachers learn how to channel the children's activity into productive avenues, set limits, and instill expectations for appropriate behavior, it was suggested that the teachers' guide, supervisors, and group meetings address the problem of classroom management more fully. Finally, evaluators remarked that Jugando en el PlDI was fun, and that teachers and children alike looked forward to the radio show with enthusiasm. For that reason, the program is very likely to continue to be useful.