Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
The Ministry of Education yesterday expressed confidence that all is in place for the Grade Six Achievement Test which starts today.
More than 40,000 students are expected to sit the exams in 1,184 centres across the island. They will be will be tested in the critical areas of the primary-school curriculum - mathematics, social studies, language arts, science, and communication task.
Like the education ministry, Donette Halstead is confident - that her two children will do well and says she plans to let them relax.
"Tonight (yesterday evening), I just plan to watch a comedy with them as a family, and afterwards, I just send them to bed. I think it's best to let them relax tonight. I don't want to add any pressure," she said.
"I have my fears because it's only natural for me to be nervous, and because it's two of them, I fear one will be happy and one will be crying, but I am trying not to let it show because I want them to be comfortable," she declared.
She added: "I am confident they will do their best and their father and myself plan to give them our full support," he said.
Clinical psychologist and lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Doneisha Burke, also recommended that there should be no last-minute preparations.
"They need to be engaged in some light play to clear their minds, have a nice family dinner, maybe, and just relax," said Burke last night.
"The only preparations should be getting their pencils and other instruments that are needed. But we definitely don't need any form of anxiety. It's just that time to offer a word of encouragement and, should parents be religious, say a word of prayer and anything that will make them relax," Burke continued.
Should children come home feeling disappointed after the first day, Burke recommends both students and parents remain calm.
"What is done is done. So regardless of the child's reaction after the first day, just let them know that Mommy and Daddy are proud, regardless, and offer them reassurance. The bottom line is to eliminate anxiety," she emphasised.