Learners Programme takes to the road - EntornoInteligente

Entornointeligente.com / The USAID/OECS Early Learners Programme (ELP), in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, held an ELP Literacy Road Show through the streets of Kingstown last Friday, 8th February.      Students and teachers from schools participating in the programme, parents, interested persons, well-wishers and officials from the USAID/OECS Early Learners Programme and the Ministry of Education comprised the march that began at the Peace Memorial Hall, travelled along Bay Street, turning on to Higginson Street then onto Back Street, and culminating at Heritage Square.       As the procession moved along its path, the harmonic strains of the voices chanting the activity’s theme of, “Literacy on the Go: Read, Learn, Grow”, seemed to have the desired impact as the faces of onlookers and passersby took on a questioning attitude.       This set the platform for providing information on the programme’s goals, its work and its need for the general public’s assistance in promoting reading at a national level.  These were laid out at the culmination of the march at a rally at Heritage Square. The ELP: Goals and Achievements The ELP is a reading programme geared towards students from Kindergarten to Grade 3.  Its main focus is its belief that students who learn to read at their grade level or higher in primary school, will ultimately be better prepared to master work at higher primary school levels and in secondary school.       To deliver this programme, which has also been implemented in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia, over four hundred local teachers in the indicated grades have been trained over the past two years.     Addressing the gathering assembled at Heritage Square, Chief Education Officer Ag., Mrs. Elizabeth Walker, lauded the programme and expressed the Ministry’s excitement with it.      She noted gains achieved thus far, mentioning the seventy-one primary schools on stream.  Additionally, she stated, “Just yesterday, the ELP awarded ten persons who participated in the Write-to-Read competition designed to encourage Vincentians and citizens of other member states, to put their creative abilities into practice by writing and publishing their pieces.       “I am pleased to add that two persons, Ms. Anna Warrican, former Kingstown Preparatory School student, and Mrs. Phyllis Ducnan-DaCosta, a teacher at the Lowmans Windward Anglican School, were recipients of regional awards in the Children and Teacher categories respectively.”     Mrs. Sisera Simon, Head of the Education Development Management Unit OECS Commission in St. Lucia, congratulated SVG on its regional winnings, before she focused on the children, encouraging them to never stop reading.  She left them with a quote by Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know; the more that you learn and the more places you will go.”     In her feature address, educator Ms. Gloria Williams registered her excitement for the programme, using the first verse of Rachael Platten’s ‘Fight Song’ to describe its impact: ” ‘Like a small boat on the ocean, sending big waves into motion; like how a single word can make a heart open; I might only have one match but I can make an explosion.’ ”        Williams likened the ELP-trained teacher to the “small boat”, and the students to “the ocean”, with great potential in her classroom.       “This teacher,” she continued, “then goes about making ‘big waves into motion’ by igniting her ‘one match’ fuelled by the ‘word’ expertise she gained from her training in the ELP.  With receptive, ‘open hearts’, ‘an explosion’ of children acquiring reading and literacy abilities is created, that stretches out across the entire nation.”     Williams implored members of the general public to get on board, as there was room allocated for their involvement.      “There is room for persons like yourself to continue this reading process out of school.   Just visit the school and dialogue with the teacher.  Help to make your child an avid reader,” she encouraged.     To add to what went before, Mrs. Licha Goddard told her own reading success story which took her from a non-reader to an entrepreneur.  Students of the C W Prescod Primary School gave two enlightening and entertaining performances, then children from a number of schools paraded in costumes of characters they had read about in books, as teacher/educator Maxwell ‘Tajoe’ Francis sang his own composition describing the pivotal role of a teacher in programmes like the ELP.     The goals for the event had been achieved.  It was left to the members of the public to get involved.
LINK ORIGINAL: The Vincentian


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