Sun | Feb 17, 2019

Kiwanis Club launches book collection drive for inner-city schools

Published:Monday | February 11, 2019 | 12:14 AM
President of the Kiwanis Club of North St Andrew, Barrington Miller (second right), makes a presentation of books to Norda Seymor Hall during the launch of the Kiwanis Club of North St Andrew’s 450 in 45 Days Book Collection Drive. Also pictured are Norman Walker (left) of Book and Stationery Place and Dwayne Cargill, chairman, Young Children Priority One Committee.

The Kiwanis Club of North St Andrew, launched its 45th anniversary 450 in 45 Days Book Collection Drive last Friday.

In launching the initiative, Major Barrington Miller, president of the club, said, “As we celebrate our 45th year of service to Jamaica, we consider how critical it is to help young children [to] be ready for school by working with them to develop early literacy and learning skills. Because strong reading skills form the basis for learning in all subjects, it is important to identify those who struggle with reading as early as possible.”

He also stated, “Children who have been read to at home go to school with important early literacy skills. They are prepared to learn to read and write. Children who have not had many experiences listening to books read aloud or talking about books, typically start school with poor early literacy skills.”

In explaining the purpose of the initiative, Miller said, “As we celebrate our 45th anniversary of service to the children of Jamaica, it is befitting that we undertake this activity to support the children at the early-childhood level to improve their literacy by providing access to textbooks and engaging with the children.”

DISTRIBUTION

According to Miller, the books collected will be distributed to two inner-city schools – St Paul’s Basic School in Tower Hill and National Baptist Basic School in Arnett Gardens. The club will also make donations to the Early Childhood Commission, added Miller.

In endorsing the initiative, Norda Seymour Hall, director of sector support at the Early Childhood Commission, stated that the commission is pleased to partner with entities such as the Kiwanis Club in initiatives that distribute books and promote the early literacy skills of children.

The initiative, she outlined, “is in keeping with the early-childhood institutions’ 12 operating standards”.

“These books,” according to Seymour Hall, “will see more early-childhood institutions having more comprehensive programmes designed to meet the language, cognitive, creative, physical, social, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and school-readiness needs of children.”

Early Start A Plus

In praising the initiative, she said, “Research has shown that it is more economically advantageous and practically easier to reach children from birth with quality early-childhood experiences which include a print-rich environment than to try to catch up with intervention programmes in primary and secondary schools. What we really need to do is to get it right at the early-childhood level. We must continue to invest at the early-childhood level.”

Seymour Hall went on to speak of the importance of partnerships and called on other organisations to support the commission in providing a variety of children’s books for the sector.

To mark the launch of the initiative, Miller and Norman Walker, managing director of the Book and Stationery Place, presented a package of early-childhood books to the Early Childhood Commission. Book and Stationery Place, located at Portmore Mall, will partner with the Kiwanis Club of North St Andrew to provide most of the books.