Kids top priority
Programmes reaching out to young people are great initiatives, but the continuation of the them is more important.
This morning at the Ministry of Education at the Elise Payne Complex in the City, the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown presented the St. Boniface and Eden Lodge Nursery schools with books and cheques to invest in education materials, all part of their Young Children Priority One programme.
This programme was designed specifically to address the needs of young children in the community. This year Kiwanis Bridgetown will focus its attention on the care and development of children ages zero to five years old while encouraging their parents to get involved in helping the children to read.
Minister of Education Ronald Jones was supportive of the programme but advised the players not to let this project decay to a “start now/stop now process” like others that came before did. He said the potential benefits to be realised if the project is given an opportunity were significant.
“Sometimes too many persons come to the ministry or to other state actors and they come with these programmes and then somewhere along the line the president changes or the secretary is no longer able to work…,” he said.
“The Ministry of Education endorses these kinds of initiatives because all individuals in the wider community are partners in education — stakeholders in the product of co-education. When they are able to come forward with these types of gestures they should not be frustrated or denied. So we see ourselves as facilitators, in this instance, between the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown and the two nursery schools.
“I am pleased also to note that as mentioned they would possibly link up with the other Kiwanis Clubs in Barbados and to spread this initiative to other nursery schools in the country. When one gets this kind of commitment to do what is being done in this particular instance this augers well [for] our early literacy development in our youngsters.
“Of course when you get the opportunity in the hour that you set aside every week to go and use the persons from your club to read to those young people you will actually see how bright they are. Those little three-year-olds and those four-year-olds are really great sparks in the education system in Barbados.
“Sometimes, unfortunately, they are dumbed-down for whatever reason… So giving them the excitement, the urge to read, to learn, to have conversations with you, you would realise that our little people have so much in them; so much intellectual capacity to be fully realised.
“And as we watch them grow over the coming years we will realise that this type of investment will truly pay off. Along with the kinds of investment put in by the state, by the people who pay their taxes to ensure that there is still free education in Barbados from nursery right through to tertiary level of our education system.”
As part of the programme, each week a member of the club or a friend of the club will read to the children for one hour. Parents are encouraged to borrow reading material from the schools to read at home in an effort to foster an environment of reading at home. The books were donated to the Kiwanis by people in the community. (KC)†††