Launtia Cuff, Gleaner Writer
The use of computers and other forms of digital technology continues to factor more in early childhood instruction, with technology being used as a tool for improving the quality of the education programme.
Experts are of the belief that children in an early childhood setting, with the appropriate use of technology, can have an expanded and enriched educational experience that will broaden the overall teaching experience.
The British High Commission has now made it possible for the students of the Tryall Early Childhood Institution to have computers integrated into their teaching-learning experience with the donation to the school last Friday of seven laptops.
In his presentation of the laptops, his first official duty in rural Jamaica, David Fitton, CMG, British high commissioner to Jamaica, spoke of the work of the British High Commission in improving the education of the young ones, who will be the future leaders of their communities. He promised another visit to see how well the laptops would have been integrated into the school programme.
Fitton also commended the staff for the great work, they had done with the children, which was evident from their well-mannered behaviour.
Principal of the School, Nadine Banton, said the laptops would greatly benefit to the 65 students enrolled at the school.
"It will be of great benefit to the children and to us as well because, you know, in today's society, everybody is going worldwide with the Internet and computers. They (the students) will learn how to use the computers and have a feel for it," Banton said.
The principal said while the school had already received a laptop through a previous donation, the students had not previously been exposed to computers as the laptop had to be kept elsewhere due to safety concerns. She said measures were being put in place to protect the school's newly acquired property. She said they were still in the process of trying to locate funds for the project.
"We had [already] received one, but there was no appropriate place to keep it at the school. It was there for the purpose of writing letters and test papers and other documents, but it was not kept at the school because it was not safe to keep it at the school.
"We [now] have an additional classroom where the computers can go. All we have to do is set it up with computer desks and chairs so it will look like a computer room. We are working on that right now. We don't have the Internet at the school as yet, (but) as soon we set up the room, get it grilled, and put in the chairs, we'll apply for the Internet," Banton said.
Evol Beckford, a past student of the school, who has a special connection with the school which was started by her mother 63 years ago as 'Miss Setta school', said that the laptops were given as a prize for a photo competition that the school had entered and won.
"There was a competition in the summer. The British High Commission sponsored [this] competition. The prize was seven laptops to a basic school in Jamaica. What we had to do was upload a photograph of the school and have people vote for the photograph, and Tryall Early Childhood got the most votes," Beckford said.
Richard Parchment, member of parliament for South East St Elizabeth, who was also present at the function, spoke to the progress of the students, and expressed his pleasure with the role the community played in the school's life. The member of parliament also pledged a donation of J$35,000 towards upgrading the play area, as well as a laptop to be put towards the establishment of a homework centre at the school.