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For the children

Chief Media Resource Officer Walter Harper (holding board) posing with the teachers at the closing ceremony.

Some children may be in for a surprise when they return to school in September. That’s because about a dozen teachers from various primary schools spent the last two weeks creating learning aids in the form of wooden toys for classrooms.

The workshop was led by two woodwork teachers at St. Leonard’s Boys School and under the direction of Chief Media Resource Officer of the Ministry of Education, Walter Harper.

“We put on a number of workshops which would afford the teachers the opportunity to prepare teaching aids for September and the year ahead. This particular workshop affords teachers the chance to engage in producing wood-based manipulatives. That is your puzzles, games and different things to sort.

“Infants children ages four to seven have to develop motor skills; they have to develop skills in thinking, sorting, etc. What we’ve done here is to produce some materials that some teachers can use at a number of schools,” said Harper.

He noted that they were hoping within next year’s budget to introduce other materials to the annual summer workshop, such as plastic to also produce additional materials of a high quality, but locally designed.

The teachers, he added, invented the concepts and reproduced those ideas in practical ways using wood.

“Come next year, we hope to have double the number of persons being exposed to this training. In this workshop we had just about a dozen, but what happened was that a number of persons who registered went off to do the two year programme at Erdiston, so that impacted on us a bit. During the last four years we have trained about, I would say, 70 persons,” added the chief.

Of that number, he said about 20 per cent returned for refresher or additional training each year, while the other 80 per cent were new registrants.

In addition to introducing new materials to the creation process, Harper said too that next year they were also looking at adding another two weeks to the programme, so two could be spent in wood and the other two using the other material.

“The Audio Visual Aids officers go into the schools. They remain very close with these same teachers and they work alongside them, so we can say the materials are fully utilised,” he said.

The workshop, he noted was the brainchild of Visual Aids Officer, Charmaine Seale, but they could not have continued to be so successful without the help of the St. Leonard’s School. (LB)

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