Primary schools across the island have been given a gift of several children’s classics, as the Ministry of Education continues its drive to encourage reading from an early age.
The Ministry received a donation of literacy material from retired educators, Dr Elizabeth and Hans Grundin, the directors of the UK-based Early Literacy Resources.
The official presentation was made at Blackman and Gollop Primary School this week, and materials included the books The small red hen; Once I caught a fish and ‘Two little blue birds’, in print and audio formats.
Education Minister Ronald Jones said the literacy materials were designed based on the authors’ philosophy that in early education, sound and language are vital for supporters for reading, with a focus more on learning than on teaching.
“We have now in Barbados [been] for a little while, speaking to that concept as well, constructivist learning and teaching, where the student is now at the centre of everything we do in education, rather than the teacher.
“Through the various materials, learning is promoted in a variety of curriculum areas which include concepts about print, listening and communication skills, vocabulary skills, comprehension skills, basic numeracy skills, music appreciation and singing, social skills, and creative skills,” Jones said, adding the materials expose young readers to rhyme, rhythm and repetition.
The books cater to children from age three to seven, and will also be useful to students who may experience delays in learning.
“We know that there are children who sometimes have some literacy and numeracy challenges, so this kind of material can also impact on them. And those students should use them,” Jones said.
“If we are to…compete at the top levels in education systems and into how our students are able to perform with the best in the world, we have to give that early foundation [to] our three-year-olds, five, six, seven-year-olds…”
The Minister expressed his gratitude to the Early Literacy Resources for their support of Barbados’ education system, and encouraged teachers across the island to also try their hand at writing material that can be used in the classroom.
“You don’t have to do all yourselves, work together – you write this story; you write that story and you publish one book.
“And, if you are really good, you publish three, four, five books,” he said.
Teacher at Wilkie Cumberbatch, Andrew Bartlett, told Barbados TODAY he welcomed the donation, as it would help the students develop a love of reading.
“I think it’s great because usually you want to start with the little ones, the ones who come in Reception, you really want to get their foundation off right…to start them off with their reading,” Bartlett said.