Sunday, April 14, 2024

Camp Manatee promotes literacy among island children and teachers


For the past two weeks, island children were engaged in a literacy camp held from 9AM to 11AM at the San Pedro High School (SPHS). Organized by the Ministry of Education and volunteers of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington and the University of Missouri, USA, the camp aims at strengthening the literacy knowledge of preschoolers and lower-division students of San Pedro Town.
Throughout the weeks, the camp saw 20 volunteers teaching over 35 island children basic literacy skills such as, how to hold a book, reading comprehension, spelling, awareness of print, vocabulary and phonemic awareness, among other helpful skills. The camp culminated with a short ceremony at the SPHS on Thursday, August 8th. At 11AM, campers performed an interactive and educational presentation for their parents and invited guests. At the end of the camp, each child was awarded a free book for their participation in the camp.
Belize Rural South Education Officer Odilia Caliz told The San Pedro Sun that in the regular researches conducted by herself and the MOE, they have noticed that a lot of children don’t do well in language arts when they take the national examination such as the Primary School Examination and Belize Junior Achievement Test. “Literacy is a national priority, so we realized that we need to start to target these subjects at the foundational years of a child education, which is preschool or lower division, as it will be crucial in determining their success in the future,” she said.
Every year during the summer break, Caliz, along with Dr. Susan Catapano, host volunteers from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington and the University of Missouri, USA to assist teachers and students of the island. Due to literacy being a need, they decided to create ‘Camp Manatee’ that would aim at strengthening literacy among the young ones of the island. “We plan to host this educational and important camp every year to continue to introduce children to basic literacy skills,” said Caliz.
In addition, the group of volunteers also facilitated island teachers with a four-day workshop on literacy at SPHS and the San Pedro Town Public Library.

Organizers of the Camp Manatee would like to thank all the volunteers and participants that made the first camp a success! They hope for next year to be bigger and better.

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