Friday, March 13, 2009

School Supplies

If you are ever called to donate school supplies for developing countries, Dominica especially, here are some suggestions:

St. John's Catholic School has about 300 students and 12 to 15 teachers grades K to 6. They have a decent library and their computers are good and well used. What isn't there are very basic classroom items. There is only one rusty pencil sharpener in the school. There are no garbage pails in any of the classrooms, and only one bin for all the candy wrappers, juice boxes etc. There are no paints or art supplies. Chalk is hard come by.

My suggestion is to make up teacher kits rather than student kits. These could include:
sharpies, glue sticks, index cards, elastic bands, erasers, motivational stickers, scissors, coated paper clips, page covers, scotch tape, construction paper, balls of string, file folders, labels, Dominica uses imperial measurements, the teachers are using home made card board yard sticks to teach measurement. I think a subscription to a professional magazine might be useful. Some of the teachers are studying and taking their degree on line.

Never send anything that needs batteries. Batteries are in short supply and when available are ridiculously expensive. Never send anything that needs replacement parts, like staplers. The staples are non existant.

The school has nice recorders, but no music. They have been well used in the past, but only when there is a teacher who can teach the recorder.
The school needs atlases and globes.
The children play basket ball without a basket

Student kits

The girls love Dora! Supplies of the usual things young students like would always be welcome: Coloured pencils, copy books, erasers, rulers, etc.

Remember that these are Caribbean children, so "Dick and Jane" is irrelevant. In fact the Caribbean has developed some really good readers and social studies materials.

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