First year of school heritage course heralded a success

| 22/05/2014

(CNS): Around 500 students in year six at government-run primary schools took part in a Heritage Arts Programme this year learning for the first time in school about Cayman’s marine heritage, silver thatch plaiting, Caymanian culinary arts traditional games and much more specific local history and culture. The final Heritage Arts tests were last week on the programme which is now completing its first full school year which the creator has heralded as a success. “It’s been a really successful year for us,” Chris Christian, the programme director said. “We’ve managed to cover a tremendous amount of ground, enhancing young people’s knowledge of Cayman’s rich and vibrant arts, culture and heritage through a variety of different means.”

As well as the workbook, which he said had been a mine of information for both students and teachers the programme has included showcased artwork at The Ritz-Carlton, family fun days, mentoring of young students and o teacher’s workshops, helping educators themselves learn more about Caymanian culture.

Christian explained that the programme was specifically devised to teach Caymanian heritage in a contemporary setting, ensuring the contents of each lesson have been as interactive and relevant as possible. Lessons have also been designed to draw in other elements of the curriculum.

“When we teach the culinary arts we give the students the ingredients necessary to make whatever recipe it is we are studying so they can go home and make the dish with their family,” he advised. “Our workbook has the best recipe for cassava cake on the island,” he boasted.

Kite building, a favourite Caymanian pastime, involves looking at the engineering elements that go into making a kite fly, such as assessing its weight distribution and the length of its tail, Christian said.

The programme is supported by three separate government ministries, the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs, the Ministry of Administration, Tourism and Transport and the Ministry of Health, Sports and Youth and Culture. Tara Rivers, the education minister described the programme, as an exciting and useful addition to the school curriculum.

“The Heritage Arts Programme offers an important opportunity for young people to learn about and experience our traditional Caymanian heritage and culture through arts and crafts. It’s essential that we continue to offer such educational programmes in an effort to preserve and promote an understanding and appreciation of our cultural heritage for future generations,” she said. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice try but too late

  2. Anonymous says:

    Did they cook up any turtle stew? I thought that was the big cultural tradition.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Culture is good to learn, but I think learning how to read and write properly would be a better idea

    • Anonymous says:

      I would have thought maybe Drivers Ed and Sex Education should have been before Culture…..Drivers Ed maybe will teach or safe one live, sex education may assist in all unwed mothers having babies….but that makes to much sense

  4. Anonymous says:

    Let's hope this wasn't actually the first time that caymanian children of this age were learning about Caymanian heritage. That is something that should begin at home, so cudos to the administration for implementing a programme to reinforce, explore, and pay due respect to the fundamental elements of our childrens lives – their heritage. 

  5. Damien DaCosta says:

    You all remember when we had a differment diolect for each district, acted different and had our own comedians too. This great to hear that we are finally passing on something that has been disappering in Cayman over the years. Our Culture.

  6. P&L says:

    We need more of this! 

    Chris is one of Cayman's most talented home grown artist and has always been a passionate about his work. The children received a true blessing to work with him like this.

    People often criticize that we have no culture but every where has a culture… It's just that our native culture has been so diluted so quickly but it is still there if you squint your eyes and shield your eyes from the sun you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it before it slips away or we could teach it to the children and let it go from there…

    See what they do with it as they grow… Cayman might have great young artists being inspired for a life of passionate creative work (hopefully not while starving) and that is a really good thing… For them and for society… And for our Culture!

    Great job to all involved!


  7. Anonymous says:

    I'm very pleased to learn about this programme which I strongly recommend the education ministry make manadatory for all schools; not just government schools. As a youngster, going to school here in the 1980's, we learned all about the War of the Roses, Guy Fawkes and endless amounts of English history while our own Caymanian and Caribbean history was largely ignored.

    It's time to change that. Although we are a tiny, young country with a highly transient population Caymanian culture is all around; we simply need to embrace it.