The St. Vincent and the Grenadines ELP team has taken on the Xtempo challenge that has been circulating around the Caribbean. Calypsonians, Soca artistes and other recognizable persons have created Xtempo videos with public messages to encourage persons to stay home during COVID – 19. The team created their own Xtempo calypso that was presented by a child of one of the ELP Coordinators with key messages encouraging teachers to support continued education and virtual learning for students during school closures.
Additionally, the ELP team collected short videos from two early grade students, one which encourages other students to read and one which encourages parents to help their children with reading and working at home. The ELP team believes that utilizing youth to convey these messages has a strong impact by connecting with the audience authentically.
The ELP coordination team also created a public service announcement with messages for parents and students with each team member being filmed from their respective homes. All content is being shared on WhatsApp to the various educators and parents’ groups within St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Additionally, these messages will be shared on Facebook in the ELP parent’s and educator’s groups, and by the ELP team.
A series of ‘Read Alouds’ have also been produced to be aired online and on television and radio to ensure that those in the community who do not have electronic devices and internet connectivity can still be reached.
According to the National Focal Point for the ELP in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mrs. Mavis Findlay- Joseph:
“It has been a challenge to find unique ways to connect to students, but we recognize how critical it is to reach our teachers, parents and students with important messages and content to assist them during these difficult times. What better way to have impactful connections than with our youth sharing key messages. We are committed to the continuation of the learning process in whatever way is currently feasible, and to reaching as many of our students as possible.”
About OECS/USAID ELP:
OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme is a Programme within the Education Development Management Unit of the OECS Commission and was established in March 2015 to improve the reading skills of children in the early primary grades with the goal of providing a foundation for improved learning outcomes and enhanced opportunities for students in the six (6) independent Member States of the OECS (Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines).
To date the ELP has achieved a number of tangible outputs with over 17,000 learners reached at the Primary level, over 1500 Grades K to 3 teachers supported through job embedded professional development, 1426 lessons observed and 1031 coaching sessions with teachers have been completed by ELP Coordinators. Further, 60 schools across the Member States have received development grants to support reading enhancement projects and 173,114 teaching and learning materials have been provided to 750 classrooms across the OECS. The OECS/USAID ELP will run through to September 2020 continuing to develop and implement impactful initiatives that advance early grade reading throughout the OECS.