Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Get serious about early childhood education

Published:Wednesday | May 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Latoya West-Blackwood speaking passionately about reading at the Carlong Publishers basic-school donation at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library yesterday.
These two students are all smiles yesterday at the Carlong Publishers basic school donation ceremony at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library.

Latoya West-Blackwood, chairman of the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ), has urged policymakers to move beyond conducting studies and research to investing seriously in the early childhood sector in order to prevent cognitive challenges in the future.

West-Blackwood was speaking at a basic-school donation, which was hosted by Carlong Publishers which contributed more than 2,000 textbooks to 50 basic schools across Jamaica.

She said the donation signalled the continuous investment in Jamaica's children, which would aid further growth for the country.

"It is so important that when they are reading, they are seeing themselves in the story. We are happy that Carlong Publishers has heard the call and stepped up to the plate for the children of Jamaica. This project is highly commended, supported and should be replicated," she said.

"Over the years, we have played our part in building and fostering a reading culture to promote sustainable growth and development in Jamaica. In spite of all the work, however, there is an urgent need for a clear and cohesive agenda to promote literacy and the habit of reading, backed by properly funded and sustainable initiatives," she continued.




Blackwood added, "Basically what I am saying is that we need to stop 'di bag a talking' and get to action. The research is there. We don't need anything else to convince us that investing in our children is how we are going to grow our society."

Nordia Seymour Hall, director of sector support at the Early Childhood Commission, who was guest speaker at the event, encouraged parents to ensure that the habit of reading was inculcated from an early age.