Seaview Gardens Primary literacy programme reaps big rewards Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Seaview Gardens Primary School is receiving well-deserved recognition for its exceptional progress in literacy.

Thanks to a Desnoes & Geddes Foundation-funded Literacy Program that was launched in 2022, many students who were previously lagging behind by two to three years have shown remarkable strides in reading. Today, these students are performing at or even above their grade level. The programme’s success was celebrated on Friday, September 8 for World Literacy Day, with parents and literacy specialists.

Noting the students’ progress, Literacy Specialist Suiaya Salmon, said, “I have seen a significant improvement in the students who have participated in the programme. In fact, many of them have made such progress that they no longer need to continue with it next year. This is a great success, and I believe there is even more improvement to come. The literacy specialists are not the only ones doing the work; the teachers and some of the parents are also contributing to the progress.”

The Seaview Gardens Literacy Programme distinguishes itself by going beyond traditional literacy approaches to assess students based on skills, interests, learning styles, and sensory awareness abilities. This individualised approach allows teachers and specialists to craft tailor-made learning tools for each student, fostering a love for learning from the earliest stages.

Quality Systems Coordinator, Lori-Ann Vincent (on the left), and Red Stripe Tax Specialist Denise Baker (on the right) engage students of Seaview Gardens Primary School

Christine Lennon, the Literacy Specialist working with students in grades 4-6, said, “The students are always eager to come to class, but there are so many other competing subjects that they have to deal with like music, P.E. and dance, so we have to learn to share the time, so more time will always be good.”

At the same time, she noted an area for improvement as the programme enters its second year, saying, “This year, we plan to include more worksheets to help students who find unfamiliar words frustrating. This will make their learning process smoother and more accessible”. We have gotten a lot of resources, our aim is to use the resources more.”

Lennon also credited the D&G Foundation for making the learning environment engaging, attractive and reader-friendly, which has made the space comfortable for students and reduced the occurrence of behavioural problems.

“The programme has made a significant impact. I started with 121 students in grades 4-6. Most of them were reading at grades 2 and 3 level, and that’s significantly behind for students doing PEP. So, they really needed that extra push, and this program offered just that. We were able to move quite a few of them from a grade 2 level to their grade level,” added Ms Lennon, as she reflected on the positive outcomes observed.

Parent Annalisa Taylor, said her son’s critical thinking skills, articulation and expression have improved since being a part of the programme.

Kimone Bowen, mother of seven-year-old Mikhail Spencer beamed with pride as she highlighted her son’s tremendous improvements since being enrolled in the programme, “During the Covid period, Mikhail experienced substantial learning loss but with the help of the programme, he started improving in the first few months. Today, Mickhail is proud to be one of the top performing students, even excelling in other subject areas now.”

Dennis Beckford, D&G Foundation Accountant, celebrated the programme’s progress, saying, “We are delighted to witness the positive outcomes of the Seaview Gardens Literacy Programme. While we initially invested $8 million, there’s no dollar value that can be affixed to the results we’ve observed. The Foundation has high expectations for the future of this initiative and its beneficiaries. The commitment of our literacy specialists, teachers, and parents, combined with the unique approach of this programme, has truly set our students on a path to success.”