Heaven lauds new cricket manual
Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) President Billy Heaven says the new Kiddy Cricket Academic Manual is ideal for the sustainability of the sport, both locally and regionally.
The recently launched cricket book, titled Chirpy is sponsored by Scotiabank and is aimed at developing students in the classroom and on the field.
The learning activities outlined in the book are expected to develop children in mathematics, language, technology, social studies, science, information technology, healthy lifestyle and child protection, which Heaven believes are critical to the success at the primary level.
However, to sustain the sport locally and internationally, Heaven says the 'Chirpy' initiative has a crucial role to play.
"This is not a short-term initiative. It will bring results in the medium to longer term, but it's a module we will have to be patient with. The sustainability of the game is ensured with this module. Sustainability is important, and you need to have a module that ensure sustainability. So the results will take a little while to come to fruition, but we believe, in the long run, we will be better able to sustain the game of cricket," Heaven said.
Heaven also believes there will be greater impact if the game is taken to youngsters at an earlier age and as a result, other initiatives have been created.
"There is no given in sports, but you have to get it right at the very early stage. Generally, if you don't get it right in the early stage, you tend not to perform well at the higher level. We have just under 400 primary schools playing cricket. After primary, they (cricketers) go to high schools, some of which play no cricket. But even if a school gets one or two of these players, most will be lost. So we have introduced a junior programme that will see clubs and parish associations take these players and develop the game," Heaven explained.
Although the first manual from 2002 included language arts, maths, social studies and some lifestyle it had nothing on child protection. But Heaven was pleased that the child protection syllabus, which has long been a JCA stipulation for age-group cricket, has been included in this new version of the cricket manual.
"Child protection is very critical throughout the world and we have been offering courses at the JCA at certain levels. So to be a coach of age-group cricket, you have to successfully complete the course. Kids can become aware of their rights and start to report things that are not proper. It will improve the knowledge and define in a clear way the rights of the kids and how to protect them from inappropriate behaviour or abuse that may arise from time to time," he added.