February 14, 2012
As a mother and grandmother, I have observed throughout the years what an impact and difference a quality preschool experience can make in a child's life and future. While first visiting Roatan Island, Honduras in 2007, and returning often since then, I learned of a group of dedicated people who are providing this experience. From a drab and sunless empty store front space much in need of repair, the Roatan Day Care Center has become a clean, colorful, and welcoming place for young island children to come to and learn. This was not done overnight, but gradually, with mostly volunteer labor and donated materials. These children are from extreme economic and educationally disadvantaged families who must work and have no child care available. Parents pay only $1 US per day to have one, or as many in family who want to attend. Local women have been trained as teachers, helpers, and needed kitchen staff under the highly capable direction of island resident Judith Allred, an educator originally from the U.S. She, and others are working tirelessly, and without pay, to offer life changing lessons to the young children of these very poor island people. The center introduces much needed skills in manners, listening, following directions, sharing, and respect for others and their property. When visiting, it is apparent that they have been taught above skills well, and are a happy and loving group full of curiosity and affection. As a guest, I have been overwhelmed with the way I've been greeted. One has to brace oneself for the onslaught of long lasting big hugs and squeezes from a small army of bright smiling faces that seem so sincere! In addition to the important social skills, the children are exposed to story reading, games, the arts such as painting, crafts, music, singing and dancing, and so much more. This quality of preschool education now being offered on this small island is bound to have an influence on its people for generations thanks to this group of hard working people giving so much of their talents. Joan P.
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MY ROLE:General Member of the Public Review from Guidestar