Speaking specifically about their Black History Month activities, many had such a wonderful experience last month when the school held its first celebrations that they just cannot wait for February 2014 to come around.
From the first of the month they held a plethora of events, including: sing-a-longs by the African Children’s Choir, African moral story telling, videos of African children playing with original toys, African games, African proverbs, prayers for black people around the world, a story of the temptations of Christ.
There was singing in Swahili, a David and Goliath dramatisation, the use of musical instruments to bring out African rhythms, Infant students performed an acrostic African song, Walking In The Light Of God. Some Juniors performed dances to Shakira’s Waka Waka and Yeshua.
Jacqueline Cumberbatch sang a tribute to Ras Shorty I, students from the neighbouring Daryl Jordan Secondary visited to dance for them and, students in Class 2-2 attended the Christ Church Foundation hair competition,†a group†of male pupils engaged in a drumming session and the school concluded the activities with an African dress day.
Initially, however, teacher at the school, Jackie Arthur, told Barbados TODAY she was a little pessimistic that the youth would be attentive to learning about the history of Africa because when the posters were first mounted, many told her they were not interested.
“But when we began taking photos of the nicely braided cornrows long before the month of February, all the girls got excited and wanted their hair [photographed]. Some of the older boys were not interested at first either, however, when the drumming was introduced, they could not stay away.
“Bringing the awareness through videos, with songs, dances, drumming, and things that were familiar to them like some of the foods, they began to enjoy it as the month went by,” she said.
Arthur said the month was one of empowerment and added that she believed the use of videos, especially in this era where children were mostly computer literate, enhanced their appreciation for things African. The information at the varying events during the month brought their awareness to another level, she noted, and is now confident that they would be able to organise a bigger Black History Month programme next year.
The teachers said she was of the opinion that it not only benefited the students but also many staff members at the school.
“Last year it was done briefly, one afternoon session, and it included mainly teacher presentations, but this year, it was more organised, children were involved on a larger scale and it was well received by the students.
“The principal and some of the teaching and ancillary staff wore the African garb, and the staff became enthused with a lot of the information that came. “In terms of the teaching staff, many are still learning about things African and I do believe as the years go by, we who were in the dark to our African heritage will be able to teach it with more clarity and depth.
“Not having a lot of the information and being aware of a lot of our African heritage has highlighted an absence of appreciation for who we are, and therefore we are not able to share it effectively.
“Now the awareness has begun and that we are in a better position to share more, the plan for next year will include much more preparations and involvement,” said Cumberbatch.
The theme of this year’s celebrations was Our Cultural Heritage: Our African Heritage. (KC)