A new coloring and activity book written and illustrated by a local teacher has the Ministry of Education considering adding it to the local curriculum and one artist using it to make a case for greater emphasis on art instruction within the school system.
The book – Explore Saint Lucia by Sadia Verneuil was launched on Saturday at the Castries Central Library. It is the third in a series that explores various aspects of local culture, food and history.
It is well established that participation in the arts plays a major role in the social and emotional development of students. Art can help children develop their motor, language, and social skills, improve decision-making, encourage risk-taking, and develop their creativity; all things that Sadia Verneuil by virtue of her training as a teacher and an artist would have known.
But having a special needs son, would provide her with a unique opportunity to apply theory to practice with the publishing of two coloring books Manje Ste Lisi and Zanimo Ki Ste Lisi. The two creole based books look at local foods and animals and introduce students to the Creole language and to the foods that make up the island’s unique food culture and culinary traditions. Both were born out of a need to find creative ways to teach her son about the island, its history, and culture.
The third book in the series Explore Saint Lucia introduces children to the historical sites on the island and to some of the personalities, past and present, who have contributed to the island’s development or have excelled in various spheres, from sports to music
Explore Saint Lucia as the name implies is designed to encourage parents together with students to explore the island and to engage in experiential learning or learning through experience. This involves going to some of the historical and other sites mentioned in the book.
The idea for this book came out of the author’s own exploration of the island with her son.
There are logs in the book which allow users to record their experiences. The overall concept has been welcomed by the Ministry of Education.
Experts widely agree on the benefits of coloring which include helping children develop focus and concentration. It also helps students develop spatial awareness, colour awareness, recognition and discernment and stimulates creativity while encouraging self-expression. It has even been proven very helpful for children suffering with Attention Deficit Disorder
This year Camille Henry Memorial School where the author teaches, added the last book –Explore Saint Lucia-to the school’s curriculum with surprising and positive results. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of education Michelle Charles has expressed her desire to see the book included on the local school curriculum
Alwin St. Omer an artist himself and whose father Sir Dunstan St. Omer is featured in the book, profited the opportunity at the launch to make a case for more emphasis to be given to the arts in schools. His argument is based on the idea that it can help develop more well-rounded children and adults by encouraging the development of original and creative thinking.
The book has won the support of former West Indies Cricket Captain Daren Sammy and famed local high jumper Levern Spencer both of whom participated in the launch virtually. Copies of the books were presented to the Castries Library and younger attendees at the launch got the opportunity to win copies of the book and to have them signed by the author and illustrator.
SOURCE: Press Release