By Anesta Henry
Ellerton Primary School is rolling out a number of projects to promote literacy among the school’s population.
Delivering remarks at the unveiling ceremony for a mural and sensory garden display on Monday, Principal Andrew Haynes, said the school was placing literacy at the forefront of the academic programme and was in the process of rebuilding its library. The rebuild should be completed this year, thanks to the efforts of Sagicor Life Inc.
“It is also our goal to create smaller murals throughout the entire school which promote literacy and reading,” he said.
The principal indicated that the school’s bathroom is also earmarked for refurbishment and the walls of the school buildings are to be repainted in the school’s colours of yellow and blue. He said maintaining a clean and manicured environment was also important and having the tools for the job was also a priority.
Haynes said while the school was able to obtain a lawnmower through donations, the institution was still in need of a weed whacker. In line with enhancing the overall student experience, Haynes said that during the last school year, Ellerton started a breakfast programme which attracted sponsorship but which is still in need of additional funding to facilitate the growing number of students who need to access the offering.
“This morning’s ceremony also exemplifies a spirit of benevolence and co-operation and partnership, teamwork and charity because without the kindness and philanthropy of our many sponsors, neither the mural nor the sensory garden would have been possible.
“We reached out to you and you responded in ways that we could not ever have in mind. It is with an attitude of gratitude that I stand before you this morning. On behalf of the staff and the students, I want to extend my most profound and sincere thanks for your generous donations,” Haynes said.
The principal added that the mural and sensory garden stand as a testimony to the dedication and commitment of the staff, particularly teacher Shioma Francis Porte who led the effort to have the mural painted and the garden created.
Porte said after enrolling in a Diploma in Leadership programme in 2019 along with her colleague Natasha Jones, she chose the project to beautify the school as part of a “school improvement” project.
She said even though the programme was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, once face-to-face classes resumed, the school improvement plan restarted with a new focus.
“The planting continued and was facilitated by contributions from our sponsors. A decision was also made to create a sensory garden and to have a full-sized mural painted on the compound. We solicited further support from the business community who responded empathetically and through their generous contributions we were able to complete both the mural and the sensory garden.
“The mural, we felt, should capture the very essence of Ellerton Primary School and showcase the diversity of our students’ capabilities as it is important that we maintain a multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted aspect of this school. Apart from the technology, the academics and the sports, this school has achieved unprecedented success in agriculture, winning awards in many competitions,” Porte said.
Artist Nikolai Charles, said the mural was placed at the entrance of the school as a welcoming symbol. Charles said the painting highlights the bridging of the gap between technology and agriculture.
“The mural is portraying the planting of seeds that is similar to you students having an idea or a thought. Now that you are young you have a lot of time on your hands and as you grow older you will have many ideas of what you want to become in life.
“And just like the images on the mural of the students planting, you can imagine those are real thoughts. You are planting your thoughts or your dreams of what you want to become in the future and they will blossom and grow into whatever beautiful idea or job you get in the future,” Charles said.
The sensory garden is intended to provide students with an environment that stimulates all five senses through the interaction with plants and other decor while allowing students to connect with nature and become more aware of their surroundings. [email protected]