Training to improve Literacy levels in Public Schools
Teachers from the Division of Public-Schools began the school year 2023-2024 by attending literacy workshops during the month of August. The general goals of the trainings were to improve the literacy levels of the students within public schools, by training the teachers on how to develop a positive reading environment in their classroom and how to develop the phonetic reading practices of students. Foundation Biblionef, of the Netherlands were responsible for facilitating the workshops by funding the trainers and supporting the development of the content for the workshop. They also donated Jolly Phonics books for the teachers and the students and the reading books for the classroom libraries.
The two trainers for the workshops were Ms. Bianca Versteeg and Ms. Ineke Blomendaal both from the Netherlands who travelled to St. Maarten to give these trainings. The teachers at the Dr. Martin Luther King School and Mg de Weever School were the first to participate in the literacy training held August 7- 11. Ms. Bianca Versteeg, the trainer for reading promotion, shared with the teachers, tools and practical tips that can be used to develop reading and speaking skills of the students in the classrooms. The objective of the training was to increase students’ self-confidence and pleasure in reading. During the following week of August 14-23, teachers from the 6 public schools attended the training on the use of the Jolly Phonics method. It is method that is used to teach children to read using synthetic phonics’ or learning to read through sounds. Children in most cases, after understanding how sounds work, will apply this knowledge in order to read and write. The trainer for this training was Ms. Ineke Blomendaal. She demonstrated to the teachers how to use this multisensory approach to teach children to read.
The Ministry for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports and the Division of Public Education would like to thank Ms. Betzy Gianella Chiang of Foundation Biblionef for their initiative to include the public schools of St. Maarten in this project. As well as providing the trainers for the workshops and the Jolly Phonics material. Biblionef donated a total of 6,695 books to the schools. Biblionef also collaborated with other organizations that made these trainings possible such as Stichting Lezen, Taalkoffer, Learning for all, the Sint Maarten Library and Haelle Stichting in the Netherlands. Division of Public Education would also like to thank the Honorable Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, drs. Rudolphe Samuel for allowing the training to take place, Mr. Daison Marks, interim head of Division of Public Education, and Ms. Oralie Boirard, acting head for Division of Education Innovation for also making these literacy trainings become a reality.