Lighthouse students embrace Heritage Arts

| 26/03/2015
Cayman News Service (Photo by Lindsey Turnbull)

Lighthouse School students enjoy the Cayman Traditional Arts Heritage Arts programme

(CNS): As from September this year students at The Lighthouse School have been able to embrace local culture and heritage through the Cayman Traditional Arts Heritage Arts programme. The young students, who all have special educational needs, are enjoying the hands-on experience of making local crafts, candies and artwork and appreciating all that the programme has to offer.

Each week Chris Christian from Cayman Traditional Arts brings in local crafts people renowned for their skills in the particular craft the students are learning on the day, to help the students understand how to create typical Caymanian crafts, such as weaving with palm leaves or making miniature catboats, and make local delicacies such as peppermint or coconut candies.

Lighthouse School teacher Katherine Briscoe said students benefit tremendously from the experience.

“The students love learning a new craft each week, and of course particularly love getting a peppermint or coconut candy each time from Mr Christian,” Briscoe said.  “Some kids know these local crafts and enjoy the opportunity to share their knowledge with their classmates.”

Adding that that the youngsters’ favourite part of the programme is getting hands-on and learning by doing, she said, “They’ve made their own brooms, paintbrushes, candy, cat boats, and more. In addition, every Thursday we attend art classes at the National Gallery, which are not directly tied but there are some correlations.  The kids enjoy the opportunity to do some serious art with a real artist.”

As far as teaching the students new skills, Briscoe said the programme is invaluable. “I think the most rewarding part of this programme is the opportunity for the kids to learn about their Cayman heritage from Caymanians.  It gives them a window to the past, and an appreciation for the present.  They get to move around, get instruction from a different adult whom they respect, and are learning not just about culture but about themselves.”

Chris Christian noted the importance for the Heritage Arts programme to be all-encompassing.

“We rolled out the programme over three years ago and it has been tremendously successful within the mainstream public schools, reaching out to all year six students in a bid to educate them about Cayman’s rich history, culture and tradition,” he explained. “For the first time this school year we have been able to bring our Heritage Arts programme to the students at The Lighthouse School and it has been immensely rewarding for all of us who deliver the programme to see the obvious enjoyment in the eyes of the students every time we work with them.”

Briscoe noted that Christian works particularly well the children and is sensitive to their varied needs.

“He holds high expectations for behaviour but gives praise liberally and frequently.  The kids respect him and get so much out of this wonderful programme!” she said.

The Cayman Traditional Arts Heritage Arts programme is sponsored by the Ministry of District Admin, Tourism and Transport, the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Culture.

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Category: Arts, Lighthouse School, Schools

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