Montessori shares gift of reading

From left, Erin Galatopoulos of LIFE, Jenny Frizzelle of the MBTS Parents' Guild, MBTS co-principal Debbie Thompson, Marilyn Conolly, executive director of LIFE, and several students with the donated books.

Children and families of Montessori By The Sea collected 1,327 books over two weeks, to share the joy of reading this holiday season.

The books, collected between 25 Nov. and 11 Dec., were donated to Cayman’s literacy charity, Literacy Is For Everyone, or LIFE, whose mission is “to improve the quality of life for residents of the Cayman Islands by providing supplementary literacy programmes and initiatives for children and adults, and by helping to raise the quality of education in the public school system”.

LIFE’s executive director Marilyn Conolly and coordinator of the book-donation programme Erin Galatopoulos collected the books from the school on Friday.

“We are absolutely floored by the response from this school community; over 1,300 books is incredible,” Galatopoulos said in a press release. “It’s a heartfelt show of kindness and generosity from a school that clearly values both reading and giving back to the community.”

With a little more than 150 students at the school, aged from 2 to 12 years old, each young person collected an average of 8.5 books.

Montessori By The Sea’s co-principal Debbie Thompson said, “A Montessori education is so much more than just academics. Developing life skills and a foundation in character, values and virtues is just as important, perhaps even more so, than being brilliant in math or being a proficient writer. The LIFE book drive is just one example of the many ways children learn compassion and the importance of giving back to the community here at MBTS.”

The children at the school are involved in several community outreach programmes, from walking dogs and raising funds for the Humane Society, visiting the elderly at The Pines Retirement Home, beach clean-ups, bake sales, and collecting goods for young heart-surgery patients, according to the school.

The LIFE book drive was organised by the school’s Parents’ Guild.

“Our children really love reading, and we just wanted to share it with others,” said Jackie Myles, vice-chair of the guild. “If we want our children to practise kindness, as parents, we need to take the lead by setting an example for our kids.”

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