It was exciting to hear from Haward Mala, the Principal of Vila East Primary School, letting us know that reading resources donated by the MJF had arrived and that the staff were busy sorting through the books and placing them into the school for student use.
Donated reading resources include multiple class sets across the junior primary levels and a Literacy Benchmarking and Assessment Kit. The teachers have been undergoing in-school training sessions with Priscilla, (working for Ministry of Education in teacher training), to ensure they are skilled in using the assessment kit and are developing greater confidence in teaching guided reading and completing running records on each student – a huge task when you consider that there can be up to 50 students in each class!
Haward is keen, with Priscilla’s guidance and the support of the teaching staff, in establishing a literacy room which will house readers for instruction at the appropriate level for each child. This will require an enormous amount of work for the staff to remove the books from the library, level them and sort them into the different categories for the teachers to use in classroom practice. Teachers are trained at university to do this, but are often overwhelmed by the student numbers in each class and the scarcity of appropriate resources.
The Melanie Jewson Foundation is committed to supporting Vila East Primary School in establishing a quality reading program for all the children, and aims to extend this support to other schools in the Shefa region as Vila East develops their program and funds allow.