ST. CROIX’S YOUNGEST LEARNERS CELEBRATE WEEK OF THE YOUNG CHILD

Students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade in the St. Croix District celebrated Week of the Young Child (WOYC), April 8-13, with special activities at each school. The weeklong of activities culminated with the annual fun day on Friday, April 13 at the David C. Canegata Ball Park.

Pearl B. Larsen Elementary

On April 9, Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School students reported to school sporting their wackiest, craziest hairstyles and silliest socks. United Way of the U.S. Virgin Islands also dropped by the school to donate a bag full of school supplies for teachers to share with their students. Before distributing the goodies, United Way of USVI CEO Vinod Dadlani read a story to several of the primary classes. Astral Batiste coordinated the weeklong activities at the school.

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Alfredo Andrews Elementary

Alfredo Andrews Elementary School students dressed in the attire of their future careers for the Career Day activity on April 10. Local Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) Janice Maldonado, Anne-Marie Camacho, Leocadio Camacho, and Miriam Pereira visited the school and spoke to the students about their responsibilities and the importance of an EMT. After speaking with the emergency response professionals, students had the opportunity to explore the inside of an ambulance and learn its functions. Karissa Thurland coordinated the weeklong activities at the school.

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Juanita Gardine Elementary

On April 11, Juanita Gardine Elementary School held a parade in honor of the children’s book Pete the Cat. Each class displayed characters and special events of the Pete the Cat story assigned to their level. Students and faculty wore paper ties, hats, and sunglasses all replicating the main character Pete. Acting Insular Superintendent Carlos McGregor also attended and wore a Pete the Cat hat and tie blending in with faculty. Pete the Cat himself made an appearance and joined the students for the parade. Dianna Chardon coordinated the week’s activities at Gardine Elementary.

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Culminating Celebration

Pearl B. Larsen, Juanita Gardine, Lew Muckle, Eulalie Rivera, Claude O. Markoe and Alexander Henderson elementary schools all came out to the Culminating Celebration which began shortly after 9:00 a.m. on April 12 at the David C. Canegata Ball Park in Christiansted.

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Acting Deputy Superintendent Dr. Carla Bastian, Elementary Programs:WOYC Coordinator Jeselle Cruse-Peters, Governor Albert Bryan, Jr., and Sumayah Bryan with a Lew Muckle students.JPG

Acting Director of Curriculum and Instruction Xiomara Ottley-Herman shared opening remarks before the fun kicked off.

“I want to welcome every one of you and thank you for coming out as we celebrate you our youngest learners, our foundation, our future. I want to thank the coordinators for the Division of Curriculum and Instruction especially, Mrs. Jeselle Cruse- Peter. Thank you to all of our community partners and to all of our Virgin Islands Department of Education Partners that are here today.”

Following Herman’s opening remarks, the Honorable Governor Albert Bryan Jr. shared some brief words with students, preparing them for the fun-filled day ahead.

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“Are you ready to have some fun? Every time I ask you ‘how are you doing,’ I want you to say fantastic!” Bryan then asked them twice “how are you doing?” to which the students excitingly replied “fantastic!”

“You are going to learn and have some fun with games. I hope that you enjoy the entire day. I just wanted to come out and say good morning to all of you and thank you for coming out, especially to our educators and everyone who contributed to making this a great day for our young children of the Virgin Islands.”

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The ballpark grounds accommodated over 15 vendors from both the private and public sectors. The participating agencies and organizations were the Water and Power Authority (WAPA); Department of Education, Division of Sports and Athletics; St. Croix BookMobile; VI Fire Department; VI Waste Management Agency; Rosa the Clown; VIYA; St. Croix Environmental Association; Home Depot; VI Police Department; Department of Tourism; Department of Planning and Natural Resources; St. Croix Animal Welfare Center; My Sistahs Closet; Department of Education PBIS Team; Frederiksted Health Clinic and UNO Bouncy House.

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Each vendor provided information and or demonstrations on their roles and functions, and in return, students were treated to a variety of trinkets and goodies. VIPD and the Fire Department, in particular, allowed students to explore the inside of their vehicles. The young and curious learners sat in the fire truck and honked the horn while others spoke over the public address (PA) system in the police cars.

A bevy of students got their face painted, jumped in the bouncy house, danced, batted in the batting cage, twirled hula-hoops, jumped rope and played soccer, to name a few.

After most schools visited each vendor, it was time for lunch which was provided by the District’s School food Authority.

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Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration across the United States and is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Its purpose is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

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