Babies born in local hospitals will now be given early reader boxes filled with books and toys to boost child literacy.
The new initiative by Rotary Sunrise will benefit around 600 newborns each year, and is promoted by studies in early child development. These show that a significant number of infants when read to later develop a love of learning, have enhanced vocabulary and listening skills, can better absorb information and have improved memories.
‘Brighter babies have better lives. When they grow up their contribution to society is greater and we all benefit,’ suggests president of Rotary Sunrise Hendrik van Genderen.
‘Educational opportunities in the Cayman Islands are almost certainly better than anywhere else in the Caribbean and we want our children to take full benefit.’
The scheme is the brainchild of Rotary Sunrise director, Hazel Brown, the chief nursing officer of the Cayman Islands.
She and her Community Service committee were assisted by Rotary members in packing the first boxes.
Each child will receive a baby box with three books Good Night Moon, Elmo, and How much I love you, a matching toy and a leaflet promoting reading, according to a club release.
First in line was baby Fionn Padraig O’Driscoll whose mother, Catherine, received the box on his behalf. Fionn was born at the Cayman Islands Hospital on Thursday, 7 September and weighed in at 7 lbs 14 oz. When he grows up mum wants him to be a happy windsurfing accountant, like his dad, Ciaran. Rotary Sunrise wants him to be a Rotarian.
Rotary Sunrise is the newest Rotary club in Grand Cayman. The club has 72 members, who are mostly young professionals from Cayman and 15 other countries.