Nation e-Edition

Parents told: Do your part

Students, mostly from Workman’s Primary, after receiving their gifts from the church. (Pictures by Lennox Devonish.) Seth Forde is a picture of concentration, preparing for the big exam. Tyrese Weekes (right) solving a mathematics problem under the watchful eye of co-facilitator of the homework programme, Maria Benn. Chairman of the Christ Church West Constituency Council Peter Barrow (left, standing) and co-facilitator of the homework programme Hartley Blackett overseeing some of the students’ work yesterday.

Sun, May 05, 2013 - 12:05 AM

The Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE) is just two days away and teachers are busy preparing students. But teachers cannot do it alone; parents too must pitch in, says teacher Maria Benn.

She was one of the facilitators of a free special homework programme sponsored by the Christ Church West Constituency Council, held every Saturday at Luther Thorne Memorial in Wildey, St Michael.

“If by age seven a child still has problems reading, then parents need to put remediation programmes in place,” she said.

Benn also urged parents to talk to their children, to engage them concerning current events and to practise simple things like telling them where and why they were going when they went out together.

She also said there was a need for a major reading initiative to be launched in Barbados, designed to show children how to decode words using various phonetic skills as she found comprehension was a major weakness for students.

As for the programme, Benn said the students were eager and some recorded prefect attendance.

“We started in January last year [for BSSEE 2012] but we realized the timeframe was too short to do the necessary remediation, so this time around, the council extended the time and we started in October last year for this year’s exam,” she said.

Council chairman Peter Barrow said the programme was put into place to address certain needs.

“We know for a fact that children require extra lessons but some parents cannot afford them, so we put this programme in place. It has the full approval of the council and will continue,” he said.

Barrow said that after the exams the council would be taking the children on scenic tours to the Gun Hill Signal Station, St John Parish Church, Bath beach and possibly the Dodds prison.

Meanwhile, churches are also doing their part to help students got a good start.

One is the Workman’s Seventh-Day Adventist in St George which has an annual programme catering to students of its adopted school, Workman’s Primary.

Pastor Alvin Lucas told the SUNDAY SUN yesterday that the programme involved them donating stationery to the Class 4 students before the exam during a special church service.

This year students from St Lawrence Primary, St Giles Primary, St George Primary, Belmont Primary, Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary and St Judes Primary also benefited.

Main organizer and member of the church’s community service outreach group, Cheridan Chase, said while the programme was originally intended for students of Workman’s Primary, it had grown over the years.

“We also now invite others in the community or the church to participate who don’t actually go to Workman’s Primary. All parents have to do is let us know,” she said.

Chase said the church also prayed for the students and offered them religious books. It offered Christian literature to their parents and teachers.

Around 25 students were awarded yesterday, 19 of them from Workman’s. Chase said the relatively low numbers were no cause for alarm as Workman’s Primary was a small school. More important, she added, were the results they were seeing.

“We have seen improved results – a dramatic change. We also have people from the church who go into the school to pray for and encourage them [students],” she said.

In addition, Lucas said the church had a homework club which met every Sunday, with teachers within the church working with the students. He said the club started last September and catered to students from Workman’s Primary as well as the surrounding community. (CA)

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