Year 6 students at government-run primary schools across the Cayman Islands are undergoing their last few lessons in Caymanian culture and heritage through the Heritage Arts Program.
The program, run by Cayman Traditional Arts, finishes in June.
“It’s been a really successful year for us,” program director Chris Christian 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.
In particular, our workbook, which students are completing right now, has been a mine of information for both students and teachers alike. In addition, we have showcased student artwork at the Ritz-Carlton, held family fun days, mentored young students and offered teachers workshops, helping educators themselves learn more about Caymanian culture.”
Almost 500 students were schooled by Heritage Arts instructors on subjects that included marine heritage, silver thatch plaiting, Caymanian culinary arts and traditional games.
Mr. Christian said the program was devised to teach Caymanian heritage in an interactive and relevant manner that drew on the school 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.”
Kite building was also part of the program and involved looking at the engineering elements that go into making a kite fly, such as assessing its weight distribution and the length of its tail, he explained.
The Heritage Arts Program is supported by three 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.
Education Minister Tara Rivers said the program has been an “exciting and useful addition” to the school curriculum.
“The Heritage Arts Program 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 programs in an effort to preserve and promote an understanding and appreciation of our cultural heritage for future generations,” she said.