Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Maxfield Park Primary pushes students to non-traditional areas

Published:Saturday | May 27, 2017 | 5:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Principal Beverley Gallimore-Vernon encourages students as they comb each other’s hair at Maxfield Park Primary School’s Girls’ Day yesterday.
An animated Fae Ellington speaks to the girls.
Fae Ellington gives the girls a voice at Maxfield Park Primary School.
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In a bid to expose their students to non-traditional jobs, children as young as 10 years old were actively engaged in creating hair designs and undertaking other vocational activities as they participated in Girls' Day at the Maxfield Park Primary School in Kingston yesterday.

Beverley Gallimore-Vernon, principal, told The Gleaner that the event provided an opportunity to introduce the children to other areas of self-development, which saw them learning different skills, which are needed today in areas of tourism and the food industry.

"We wanted to empower our girls. We are exposing them to other areas (jobs). We will be looking at bed-making, looking at how to dress for success, so we will be having a fashion show and (lessons on) how to do bouquets, among other things," she said.

"We are having a hair combing competition. They might be young, but they are very good with hairstyles. Our girls here, they also dance very well, so we are trying to tap into their other side that we don't see inside of the classroom. We want them to know that there are other things. In addition to the other traditional jobs, they can also use their talents to gain success. We also want them to know that they don't need a man to define them," she told The Gleaner.

The principal added, "Many times, we don't have the opportunity to create these small groups because we are following a curriculum that we must complete. However, today, we must take the time so that as a school, we can play our part in assisting them to identify who they are, develop their self-respect and (we are) looking at the total girl, not just the books."

Empowerment starts with small things - Ellington

Sharing snippets of her story with girls from the Maxfield Park Primary School, Fae Ellington, lecturer at the University of the West Indies, stressed the importance on focusing on the small things.

Ellington was guest speaker at the school's function and she spoke on the theme 'Empowered Girls, Change the World'.

"Empowering yourself starts with the small things. Knowing to how to sew, knowing how to cook, knowing how to respect yourself - all of these things are important. It is important that we practice good time management and get in the habit of being punctual. It may seem small, but they are very important for your self-development and empowerment," Ellington told the girls.