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#JamaicaTogether | Former principal launches storytelling YouTube channel for children

Published:Thursday | June 4, 2020 | 12:24 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

A retired educator has launched a YouTube channel dedicated to storytelling, aiming to ignite a passion for reading in young children.

Pop Story Gimme features stories narrated with a Caribbean flavour by Joyce Thompson, who hails from Darliston, Westmoreland.

“In today’s world, hardcover reading is almost a thing of the past, and that is denying families the opportunity to be together,” the 83-year-old former education officer, principal, and teacher said, delving into the inspiration for the project.

Thompson said that she had her eyes set on imparting knowledge in the classroom since her tender years.

“I attribute all of my love for early childhood to what I received from Miss Crawford at St John’s Infant School,” she told The Gleaner.

“When we would go to play in the afternoons, I would find the small trees at the fence and I would teach those plants,” she recalled.

After leaving school, she would then spend five years working as a telegraph clerk before heading off to Shortwood Teachers’ College to pursue her passion at age 22.

Thompson now resides in the United States and has so far narrated four stories about the mischievous spider Anancy, a character deeply embedded in the island’s folk culture.

“In my time in the classroom as a student and as an early childhood teacher, I always thought that socialisation was so important a tool for children to learn what it is about our culture that we have to embrace and love,” Thompson said.

In addition to providing good entertainment value and facilitating the spending of quality family time, she explained that storytelling is also an excellent way to broaden children’s vocabularies, sharpen their memories, nurture their natural curiosity, and help them with social and articulation skills.

“Because of my upbringing, I will use the Jamaican dialect or I will use standard English. We speak with the dialect, it is our way of life, and we have to have our dialect very prominent in our story-sharing because all of the stories that we have gotten from our parents and grandparents were shared in the dialect,” she said.