Principal of St. Giles Primary School, Claudette Moseley-Clarke has underscored the importance of a student-centred approach if children are to reach their fullest potential in any learning environment.

The Principal made this point recently at the piloting of the Teaching Handwriting Reading and Spelling Skills (THRASS) programme at her school.

Noting that this was something which the school planned to achieve with the support of stakeholders, including parents, she said: ???We at St. Giles Primary are committed to creating a wholesome, student-centred learning environment of high expectations of success as defined in our mission statement.

???For we are cognisant of the fact that if our students are to develop and maintain a belief in self that would enable them to grasp present and future opportunities and adapt to an ever changing society, we must seek to provide a variety of opportunities through which they will be propelled to develop their skills and creativity.???

She pointed out that it was for this reason that the school seized the opportunity to train one of its Infants??? teachers in the THRASS programme, thereby bringing the school one step closer to achieving its vision of making sure that ???each child who enters the gates of this school is given the chance to attain the eight essential skills necessary??? for successful reading as stipulated in the National Policy for Reading for Barbados.

Mrs. Moseley-Clarke added: ???In this regard, the use of the THRASS programme would help our children to understand the relationships between the 44 phonemes of spoken English and the 26 letters of the alphabet, thus giving the teachers greater scope to assist them in developing the necessary reading skills and habits for problem solving and comprehension competencies, the THRASS programme is not designed to be used in isolation, but rather to provide the??foundation for children to experience and enjoy reading a wide range of books such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry and plays.???

She said also that the THRASS programme would build on the foundation that St. Giles had already established through its Reading Stars programme, started in November 2013. Under this programme students are encouraged to read a selected number of books over a 10-week period and at the end of this period, the teachers involve the students in a number of activities aimed at building and enhancing their phonic, writing and fluency skills.

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