SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Recently Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin visited the Super Star Sunday program for special needs children that is being spearheaded by Ms. Ren Dwina Browne. Ms. Browne, MBA saw the need for her son and other children to have the additional support. Ms. Browne also initiated the Super Star Sunday sessions with other parents and their children who faced a similar situation.
The sessions identify the apparent gap in the current educational system which highlights the fact that some children’s learning ability is commonly unidentified, and because of this, those children are too often labelled as disruptive, inattentive or are shunned without being given the opportunity to reach their full potential, resulting often times in them underperforming and being left behind. Every child possesses a unique combination of abilities and needs that affect their learning and all children deserve the opportunity to learn in ways that make the most of their strengths and capacities while enabling them to surmount their challenges and limitations.
The uniqueness and objective of these sessions, are to empower and enable every child taking part, to understand their learning potential and ideals. Another objective of the programs is to involve the parents in their child’s learning processes by teaching them to identify and engage their child’s specific learning style. Ms. Browne does this by creating a fun and interactive learning environment for the children and an atmosphere where parents can assuredly grow to understand their child’s learning patterns and support them to being confident, rational, well informed individuals, no matter their learning styles.
For example, some children learn by moving, so we allow them to find a creative way to explain what they understand from their lessons – this could be in the form of dance, skit or miming and we reinforce their positive-active understanding/learning. As well, in some instances, we correct, realign and reinforce their understanding (so to speak). Other children with visual thinking might draw a picture, create a diagram or use colors to express what they understand. We encourage lifelong learning, public speaking, boundaries and value setting and building self- awareness and confidence. Since no two children are alike: physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually, then it goes to reason that, each child is a unique individual and as such their individuality regarding the above, should be understood and must be respected by their parents and teachers.
As part of their Social Studies, Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin was invited to join one of our sessions where she interacted with the children and spoke about the operations of the Government of St. Maarten. The children were taken aback with the opportunity of actually meeting the Prime Minister of St. Maarten and were very engaged in her presentation.
In the future Super Star Sunday program plans to arrange other opportunities where the children would be able to see and hear from other members of the community that relates to the different study subjects. We will continue to pair active and engaged learning with relatable activities.
Ms. Browne expressed her thoughts by saying, “Our Sunday sessions could not be possible without the children, the support of the teachers and principal and all the parents. A special thank you to Ms. Averdine Stephen LLB our Wellness Coach/ Mentor, Mrs. Catherine Carmont (Les Mioches Carmont – Alternative learning school) for her mentorship and allowing us to use her school as our base location, Dr. Wandikayi Matowe for her mentorship, Ms. Germaine Brooks, Mr. Luis Cruz, Mr. Vernie Richardson and Ms. Ger-Dwina Browne our remote Occupation Therapist.
“Although not all of us are teachers, each of us are passionate about ‘learning how to learn… differently’ and advocate, that no child should be left behind despite their learning abilities. We also firmly believe that each child has the ability to learn and to excel at their capacity with the right support and nurturing,” said Ms. Ren Dwina Browne.