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A boost for students at Solas Early Childhood Institution

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A boost for students at Solas Early Childhood Institution

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

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SINCE his grandmother played a part in getting the land title for a church in Burnt Savannah, Westmoreland, that now houses Solas Early Childhood Institution, deciding on a school to support was easy for Aubyn Allen.

The Jamaican, who now resides overseas, teamed up with child advocate and entrepreneur Amashika Lorne to donate resource materials to aid 52 students’ adjustment to blended learning, as the country attempts to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

“I had an emergency trip to make to Jamaica and asked some of my friends if they would like to make a contribution to help students in my home community while I’m here,” Allen is quoted as saying in a recent release. “I was able to raise some funds and worked on a plan with Amashika to pay it forward and help make my parents Kerton and Lola Allen proud.”

He said the school, which is located in Blackness District near a sugar farming belt in the parish, is special because his grandmother was instrumental in getting the land title for the church in which the 15-year-old school is now situated.

Since schools reopened on October 5, following a March closure in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, the daily lessons — administered by three teachers to students between ages three and six years old — are conducted virtually from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm.

The Solas Early Childhood Institution students last month received three weeks’ worth of data credit to aid with online learning as well as a copy of the colouring book Chat Tu Mi and Colour, which is published by Lorne’s communications firm. Councillor for the Friendship Division Kevin Murray also pitched in and gave the students $30,000 worth of stationery.

The school’s principal, Yevette Lewis was grateful.

“One of the major complaints of our parents is the lack of credit and so, I was very pleased to hear that the initiative will be giving resources and a credit donation as we continue to adhere to the directives,” said Lewis.

Also, with a view of social distancing being the norm going forward, the principal said that if individuals would like to support the students, they can do so by purchasing tents to create additional spaces for classes as a temporary fix. She can be contacted via e-mail at lewis.yevette@gmail.com, the release said.

According to Lorne, since the closure of schools earlier this year, parents have been searching for additional creative ways to keep their youngsters mentally active and engaged.

“Colouring is a great way to watch their progress in terms of gross motor skills — general movement of dragging the crayons across the page — and fine motor skills, being more deliberate with the wrist and finger movements to stay in the lines. I’m hoping the books will aid quality family time in these households,” she said.

Other benefits of colouring, according to the release, include improving concentration, hand-eye coordination and well as providing a sense of accomplishment when tasks completed and the freedom to express oneself in a creative way.

In the meantime, Murray welcomed the initiative.

“I strongly believe that everyone should try and play a part in uplifting our communities. When I heard of the efforts, I was pleased to be in a position to be able to make a contribution. Education is a great vehicle for social mobility, so an initiative of this kind takes high priority for me. I am very familiar with this school, in fact, my first project vying to be a political representative was painting the school for a Labour Day project. I am happy to see its growth and sustenance since,” Murray said.

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