Tech keeps infants engaged amid school closure
As the closure of schools rolls into its fourth week, administrators at two early childhood education institutions in western Jamaica are trying hard to keep students engaged while out of the classrooms.
Schools were ordered closed as of March 13 – first for 14 days before being extended – as the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease, surfaced in the island, spurring the Government into action to limit its spread.
Shernette Lawrence, principal of Bright Minds Nursery Pre- and Kindergarten School in Lucea, Hanover, said that while her institution is facing challenges in having their distance-learning programme administered satisfactorily, they are seeing improvements in the partnership with parents to keep students engaged.
“There is no doubt this pandemic will somewhat drag our feet and slow us down, but currently, we are sending activities to our students through their parents and the responses are good,” Lawrence said.
The principal added: “We would love to have our teachers working from home with their own individual classes, but we are not able to do that at this time due to financial constraints.”
Lawrence is hoping that the all-clear will be given soon to resume traditional schooling.
Meanwhile, Consuelo Ricketts, principal at Eagles Wings Elementary and Early Learners in Montego Bay, St James, told The Gleaner that her teachers have been making use of the messaging platform WhatsApp to reach students in this time.
“About 70 per cent of our students are being tutored through this medium with the support of their textbooks,” Ricketts said. “Despite the challenges, our teachers are committed to ensuring that our students continue their curriculum, and thanks to the parents, our methods have worked so far.”
The educators say parents are also utilising the Early Childhood Commission’s website, https://ecc.gov.jm/covid-19-corner/, where parenting tips and daily activities for children are posted.