School arts programme draws to a close

| 25/07/2016
CNS Local Life

East End Primary School students with their Heritage Arts creations at The Ritz-Carlton

(CNS): The Heritage Arts programme finished for the school year with more than 400 certificates handed out to students across the Cayman Islands who completed the course, with 15 participants earning trophies for outstanding effort. Every month, 447 students in government schools attended the Caymanian arts-and-heritage programme, which offers specialised, hands-on teaching. In addition, community-service events and the participation by students from private schools means more than 1,700 young people benefitted from this programme over the past school year.

Heritage Arts makes the connection between Cayman’s rich and varied traditions and today’s youth, said a press release from Cayman Traditional Arts (CTA), which started the initiative in the 2010/11 school year. The goal is to forge links to ensure that what makes Cayman unique as a nation is never forgotten.

A vital component of the programme is providing facilitators and instructors who attend each primary school across Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, as well as John Gray High School, the Sunrise Adult Training Centre and the Lighthouse School.

Chris Christian, CTA director and head of the programme, said that students enjoy expertise from well-qualified instructors:

“The experience of our instructors is deep-rooted,” he said. “Whether they are explaining how to construct a calavan, instructing on the art of archery, or helping students prepare fritters and other local delicacies, our instructors are well versed in their own subject matter and are able to engage the students in a lively and entertaining way that properly interests them.

“In this way we believe the students get the very most out of their experience on the Heritage Arts programme.”

Audrey Leahong, year six teacher at East End Primary School, said her students always gain a tremendous amount out of the programme.

“My students have participated in the Heritage Arts programme for four years now and it is a beautiful thing,” she said. “It’s an extremely good programme because it looks to the history of traditional arts, going into traditions such as thatching, games, making kites, making fritters with guava jam and so on.

“They also participate in creating a canvas at the end of the year which is showcased at The Ritz-Carlton.”

More than 300 people attended the opening night of that exhibition, a significant number which greatly benefitted the children, Leahong said.

“The programme and the art exhibition helps to build the students’ confidence, helps with team building, as well as promoting a flair for the arts. But more than that, what I really love is the powerful literacy aspect associated with the programme,” she added, explaining that the young people write down what they have been taught in a workbook that is also filled with photographs and illustrations.

Leahong said that her district has a very strong seafaring past, and her students particularly welcome the wealth of knowledge on this topic that the instructors impart.


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Category: Arts, Culture

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