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Early childhood education students placed in Jamaica [CA-ON]

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Keung, Nicholas
Publication Date: 
26 Dec 2003

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It was more than a suntan that Jennifer Lameiro and eight of her classmates from George Brown College brought home from the Caribbean.

The early childhood education students actually returned from the school's two-week Jamaica Outreach Project with a sense of appreciation of their Canadian roots.

Born and raised in Toronto, Lameiro, 27, had never been to Jamaica, not to mention to teach in a class with up to 70 kids between the ages of 3 and 5 in a warehouse-like school, where pupils, crammed on long benches, could hear noises coming from other classes through flimsy wood walls.

While one could be soaked in sweat in the steaming classroom where there was no fan or air-conditioning, Lameiro said her teaching experience at the Nigril Basic School has given her a new perspective on early childhood education in ethnically diverse Toronto.

Now in its fourth year, the project, in partnership with the Jamaican Ministry of Education, sends students for field placements on the island.

The goal is to help them develop a better understanding of cultural diversity and share educational resources with educators and children there.

The program was the brainchild of instructor Lynn Wilson, who spent two summers with other Canadian educators in Tuzla, Bosnia, in 1998 and 1999, to help rebuild the early child education system in the wartorn country.

The outreach project is one of the school's five international programs in Cuba, Jamaica, El Salvador and France, covering everything from community work to culinary training, to "enrich the learning experiences of all students in the global economy."

- reprinted from The Toronto Star