Robinson-Massiah – Over 25 years in Early Childhood Education
March 12, 2010
Robinson-Massiah – Over 25 years in Early Childhood Education


JACQUELINE Massiah’s involvement in Early Childhood Education began over 25 years ago. “I was at a rally when the feature speaker, the late Sir Rupert John chided young people for choosing a profession which made quick money,” she shared, “and that is how it began.”{{more}}

Massiah, who had briefly considered family planning as a career, soon discarded that idea when she visited CANSAVE with her aunt who was from abroad and saw the need for assistance. “The children were from low income families and my aunt kindly donated some stuff when she returned to the United States. It was my duty to help distribute the items and I became deeply interested in working with the children.”

Massiah then accessed training from the University of Columbia where she obtained a B.A in Child Studies and over the next 20 years she furthered her studies in many fields of early childcare until she received her M.A. in Early Childhood Education.

Her work experience started at CANSAVE which is now known as VINSAVE and she still continues to give yeoman service at this esteemed institution. She worked her way from teacher to Section Supervisor to Programme Coordinator. At present she is the Training Coordinator for VINSAVE with responsibility for coordinating and organizing training programmes for students who are desirous of pursuing short term studies in Early Childhood Education. Daycare supervisors and teachers make use of her services at least twice per year when she runs the Training sessions.

According to Massiah what has maintained her interest in this field is the development of both children and the parents with whom she interfaces. “I feel fulfilled when I see the actual success of children … when they blossom into something great,” she said.

As she reflects on her journey in this field of work, Massiah recollects that in the early days there was a lack of training among early childhood practitioners where persons “just opened a school” and “taught children to read and write before they were really ready”. She pointed out that over the years early childhood has evolved where children are now learning through play rather than rote. Teachers are writing lesson plans and children are engaged in hands-on learning activities. She noted that although there is much more support from the Government now, standards need to be put in place to maintain a high quality of education.

Jacqueline Robinson-Massiah has touched the lives of many of our young people. She certainly deserves to be called a pioneer in early childhood education.