Prep school students take step back in time

Students replace iPads with blackboard slates and chalk for a week

Students at Cayman Prep get a taste of some old-time learning.

With a focus on the Cayman Coat of Arms and the school’s 70th anniversary, Cayman Prep and High school hosted a Culture Week celebration at the primary school last week.

Children from Kindergarten up to Year 6 got involved in a variety of presentations and workshops conducted by teachers and various experts from the community.

Students learned thatching and heavy-cake making, about blue iguanas and bats, local games, catboats, and Caymanian arts and crafts, and listened to storytelling.

At assembly, attended by Governor Martyn Roper, students and teachers were encouraged to dress in old-time Caymanian clothing.

Throughout the week, the school grounds became an “old-style” learning institution, devoid of modern technology. Teacher Andrea Bothwell and her class dressed in typical old-fashioned Caymanian clothing and were equipped with slates and pencils, while the students learned about pounds, shillings and pence on the chalk board.

“When I attended school, there was no electricity [or] air conditioning,” Ms. Bothwell told the students. “You use computers but we only had blackboards and chalk.” She said there were no buses in those days and most children either walked to school or caught a ride on a truck. She said they also had to bring their own lunch, and their own water bottles.

For science lessons, Ms. Bothwell took her class outside to study nature. “We learnt the things that would equip us for that time; [just as] you are being equipped for your time,” she said.

“Why the big bag?” one student asked. Ms. Bothwell said all students back then carried big bags because no books were left at school. ”We also carried a Bible and our lunch in the bag,” she added.

Tay Oyog, a terrestrial research officer from the Department of Environment, shared information about the blue iguana and Cayman rock iguana with Year 6 students in the classroom.

Kyla Machingambi, from the Year 5 class, said she learned about the differences between school from 60 years ago and today. “I like it better today,” she said.

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