A primary school principal on the windswept rural east coast is calling for more support to keep the countryside school doors open, while a charity has chipped in to spruce up her facility.
With ten teachers and 84 pupils, the principal of the St Elizabeth Primary in St Joseph Gloria Benn said they have not been able to do much for the school’s deteriorating infrastructure, despite daily efforts to realize the children’s potential in the classroom.
And Benn complained that pleas to the business community for help have fallen on deaf ears.
“We are overlooked… and because of where we are, we don’t have a lot of businesses, so tapping into the business community is a bit of a challenge for us,” said the principal.
Her comments followed an initiative led by 16 young people who, under the Prince’s Trust programme, refurbished the playground and painted some of the school’s walls.
“We have sought and we have tried in all kinds of manner to refurbish the school and we are so happy that the trust was able to come on board and bring that into reality. The school is halfway where we want it to be.”
In the face of these challenges, Benn said her staff have achieved much for the rural school. They recently assembled a special classroom called the resource room, a space where students can engage in innovative and creative activities.
Senior teacher Richard Broome said the initiative seeks to engage the more visual and technical skills of students who adapt better to more different styles of teaching. With the help of teachers, students successfully created a vacuum cleaner, made of an old plastic bottle, and a solar oven.
With the support of local businesses, St Elizabeth’s teachers believe the plans could be significantly expanded, said Broome.
“These are things that get children interested in what they’re learning… so they are now well equipped to go out there and look at things differently in society… it sharpens their creativity.”