At the November 30th event, Millicent Dawson, who teaches Early Childhood Children’s Literature, Language Arts, Reading and Decoding at the college, stated that Creative Arts and Children’s Literature were on display as both courses complement each other.
For the exhibition, the student teachers were required to produce 10 books around a particular theme for Children’s Literature. They were asked to add props and other items and materials that centred around the theme and can be easily manipulated by children. The student teachers were also required to write a book.
Mrs. Dawson explained that this was their first attempt in writing a book. The books incorporated different aspects of life in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The book should be Kittitian in nature,” she explained. “There should be a bit of Kittitian language, Kittitian pictures, illustrations; it should be original. They have all produced outstanding books.”
The lecturer explained that the exhibition was important because the students will now have a greater understanding how to bring their subject area to life in the minds of students. She added that each classroom they teach in should have displays such as these.
“This is the way of the 21st century language arts classroom. So what we want to do is to introduce it as a new concept,” said Mrs. Dawson.
“…We tried to touch every little thing, such as charts and teacher-made materials. Some materials they can even purchase. All of this is geared towards furthering students’ learning and introducing the new concepts to them. We want to bring the aspect of play into our displays.”
This is the third year of the exhibition. Each year a different element is displayed. This year the new element was producing a book and displaying props.
“For example, one student depicted the beach by displaying beach chairs, towels, anything that children can see and touch,” explained Mrs. Dawson. “They crafted their lessons around the display. Language arts should also be integrated. You would find things pertaining to math like the fish with numbers. They can do anything. It draws on their creativity and what we have seen this morning is that visiting students did not want to leave the exhibition.”
Joycelyn Archibald-Pennyfeather, Dean of Teacher Education, said that she was elated about the exhibition and added that the student teachers are now better equipped to go out into the classrooms.
“We started the Early Childhood Education Associate Programme in 2013, and since then, we have moved to the point where we recognise that our teachers out there, they are becoming enabled and more motivated to do much more in the classroom,” she said. “What we want for them to do is to take what we give them here, take it out there, so when they leave us their students and the other teachers will be more motivated to continue with the early childhood practice.”