Eastern Caribbean Launches First Universal Emergent Literacy Program

The Eastern Caribbean region celebrates a significant milestone in early childhood education with the official launch of its first Universal Emergent Literacy program, the “Early Pages Program.” This initiative, developed following a successful three-year pilot in Grenada and Nevis, aims to enhance literacy among the region’s youngest learners.

The Early Pages Program, a print and digital manual, is designed to support over 500 preschools across the Eastern Caribbean. Targeting children aged 3-5, particularly in vulnerable communities, this program is set to impact thousands of young students and educators.Funded by a $36,000 grant from the Sandals Foundation, the initiative is a collaborative effort led by Hands Across the Sea. The program focuses on three key actions: integrating literacy into the preschool environment, boosting parental engagement, and fostering community participation in early childhood literacy.

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Amanda Sherlip, Executive Director Hands Across the Sea shares moment with Carl Beviere Regional Managing Director, Sandals Resorts International 

The program’s pilot in Grenada and soft launch in Nevis have shown promising results, with increased engagement from parents, communities, teachers, and enhanced student development.Recognizing its potential, Hands Across the Sea presented the program at the 8th Annual Meeting of Early Childhood Leaders in Barbados, gaining interest from all 12 Eastern Caribbean countries attending the event.

With plans to scale the program across its six operating countries, Hands Across the Sea aims to make the digital manual publicly available through Open Access. This expansion aligns with their vision of widespread impact and accessibility. Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, highlighted the timeliness of the program, noting the rise in developmental challenges among young children post-Covid-19. The EPP’s interactive and participatory approach is poised to address these challenges effectively.

The Sandals Foundation, a long-term partner of Hands Across the Sea, continues to invest in the region’s educational development. Preparations are underway for the 2023-24 academic year, with 66 schools across Grenada, Dominica, Saint Kitts, and Nevis ready to implement the program. The Early Pages Program represents a transformative step in addressing early childhood literacy and development in the Eastern Caribbean, promising a brighter educational future for its youngest generation.

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