Early learning is the key to success – that assertion from European Union (EU) Ambassador Mikael Barfod yesterday as he addressed students of the Eagle Hall Primary where the EU, along with author and illustrator Aisha King were promoting reading and literacy.
“I strongly believe in positive, constructive early learning. It’s very important and not to be taken for granted,” he said.
Barfod further said that since 2011 the EU had donated 140 million euros to education in Barbados.
“We provide funding for non-state actors to develop their stories and costumes and so on, as a way to help the children,” he added.
However, Barfod reminded the teachers and parents that what the EU did was just a small part and they must play an active role in their children’s lives.
“Invest in your child’s early learning; if not you will find that you will get problems in the future,” he warned.
King, a beneficiary of the EU funding, presented one of her books, The Funny Little Mystery At Zana’a Back Door.
She said she was committed to seeing learning improve in the schools.
“I am trying to visit different schools and present my books every term; and I want to do this on a continuos basis.”
After reading the book to the attentive students, which encouraged children to recycle, she reminded them that it was important to “take care of the world you are in and it will take care of you”.
She further mentioned that she would be at Agrofest again this year presenting her books, which are all focused on renewable energy – “reduce, reuse, recycle”.
The book’s main character Zana also visited the students, much to their delight. She frolicked and took pictures with the eager students.
Principal Orlando Jones said: “We target reading among all our students because that is one of our trouble spots.”
Also, three of King’s books were donated to the school’s library.