Enabling educators to support all young learners with reaching their potential, regardless of learning styles or learning challenges
The Creative Language-Based Learning objective is to develop an island-wide network of early childhood and special needs teachers skilled in diagnosing the impact sensory cognitive deficits have on a child’s learning ability and tackling these deficits with process-based instruction. The goal is to enable educators to support all young learners with reaching their potential, regardless of learning styles or learning challenges.
Citing a survey conducted by Dr Barbara Matalon in collaboration with the World Bank, Mrs. Melville noted that an estimated 15-20% of Jamaica’s population, or one in every five students, has a language-based learning disability that may include problems with listening, reasoning, speaking, reading, writing and math calculations and problem solving.
“Dyslexia is the most common of the language-based learning difficulties, accounting for 70-80% of people with poor reading skills,” Mrs. Melville advised. She added that without early identification and effective intervention, the negative impact of language-based learning disabilities could have significant and long-lasting effects on the individual and society at large. “The devastation caused by crime and violence in a society is often rooted in overlooked learning disabilities,” she said.
The workshops were funded by the CHASE Fund and facilitated by the Sandals Foundation. The CHASE Fund has been supporting interventions in the early childhood education sector for 15 years and has begun to place more emphasis on training teachers to better provide for special needs students. The training was fully endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information as an opportunity for teachers to be able to reach those students who struggle with learning to read using the traditional methods.
With CHASE financing, educators were provided with the necessary instructional kits and materials and having completed the programme were able to begin implementation immediately upon returning to their classrooms.
With glowing testimonials from teachers and children alike, alongside significant instructional gains, the programme is already a huge success.