Sat | Dec 10, 2016

Space issue plagues school despite getting new building

Published:Saturday | October 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Principal of Campbell's Castle Early Childhood Institution, Karen Martin-Mills, interacts with her students during a class period.-PHOTO BY TAMARA BAILEY

Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer

CAMPBELL'S CASTLE, Manchester:IT'S no easy task imparting knowledge to students whose attention span is limited to seconds, and it is even harder for them to learn without the right material.

For a significant period of time, the Campbell's Castle Early Childhood Institution has been doing all it can to educate its children but under untenable circumstances. Now, a cry for help is being made.

The school, which formerly operated in the library space of an adjoining all-age school, had a building outfitted with a kitchen and two bathrooms, donated to them by Food for the Poor. However, due to an increase in enrolment and the regulations by education officers to be met, the school has realised it is lacking.

"We are happy to have received this building because it really helps having the students in a less congested environment where they can learn better, so we are grateful for the help, but our needs are still many," stated principal for the institution Karen Martin-Mills

"Currently, we have two bathrooms: one for boys and one for girls. We don't have any bathroom for staff. The children here have no eating area so they eat by their desks, and we (teachers) clean up three times per day. We don't have a play area and so, for the most part, students are kept inside to ensure maximum security, especially because a retaining wall is needed."

cause for concern

With approximately 40 to 52 students enrolled, the lack of teaching aid is another cause for concern.

"We are in need of computers, we have no TV, no DVD, no radio, no photocopying machine, and several students don't have the textbooks, so we have to copy material externally at an added cost ... children learn differently, and we just want to know we have all the things in place to accommodate their learning abilities.

"We are pleased to note though, that despite our inadequacies, our children continue to do well averaging over 90 per cent and mastering the profile completion when they move on to grade one," Martin-Mills said.

She noted that the school requires a great deal of support from parents, community, stakeholders and even the Government to truly strive under the current conditions.

"We have taken the initiative to host fundraising events to offset our expenses. For example, we used the proceeds from our last fundraising event to marl the school yard so it could be conducive for the children. We still, however, don't allow them to play on it as more work is needed. We need more support from some of the parents. I'm not sure some of them are aware of just how much it cost to have the school up and running. We are always in a financial rubble," said Martin-Mills.

With a local entity committing to providing equipment for the play area, Martin-Mills is seeking to exhaust all options in order to have her students receive all they possibly can.

"We are just pleading to corporate Jamaica and local stakeholders to help us acquire the resources needed, the eating area, the play area, the retaining wall, learning aid and even items for nutritional growth. The teachers are strained with having to make sacrifices to provide financially and otherwise, so we are appealing to all to help in any way they can."

rural@gleanerjm.com