Fundaciones: making learning fun

Fundaciones: making learning fun

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer West writer

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

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It has been four years since the operators of Fundaciones opened its doors to the public in western Jamaica.

And already parents are heaping praises on the institution for its delivery of quality education.

T’Shura Gibbs, the regional director-west for the Jamaica Public Service, told the Jamaica Observer West that she started a relationship with the school three months after it began operating at Bogue City Centre, Montego Bay, St James, in January 2013, and has had no regrets.

"To me, the location is convenience… and just the reputation that it [Fundaciones] had. When I was asking around for a school to send my son to, everyone was pointing me to Fundaciones," Gibbs recalled.

The Spanish word ‘fundaciones’ translated to English, means, foundations. And it appears that’s exactly what Gibbs’ first child, who spent almost three years at the school, received. She now has a second child at the institution for a little over a year.

"It [Foundaciones] far exceeded my expectations. The quality of the teachers, the activities that are here, the personal relationships that are formed, and just overall how much my children love school," Gibbs expressed.

"Fundaciones, it seems, makes learning fun. Definitely this is the place that you would want your child to start at. It certainly is that foundation that you want your child to have. You want your child to be exposed to the level of activities that are here. You want them to be able to expand their mind from the traditional things they have become accustomed to that schools undertake, and to open their minds and broaden their horizon," Gibbs argued.

Lana Chin, another parent, expressed similar sentiments.

"My daughter came to the school from another school and ever since I have never looked back.

"Apart from the regular curriculum, they have gymnastics, French class, what is called ‘Lab Rats’ (learn to create things), science experience, and homework club," said Chin, adding that her daughter always looks forward to go to school.

Rachael McDonald, who has a first degree in Spanish and a master’s in kindergarten and primary education, established Fundaciones in 2008 in Kingston as an after-school Spanish programme.

"A year later we opened our doors at Hillcrest Avenue, where we literally offered a variety of programmes, services and activities for kids as young as three at the time, up to about 18 years. We were doing anything… reading programme, GSAT, birthday parties, summer camp, science sessions, Spanish sessions, anything at all that we could offer for kids we were doing it," McDonald explained.

Surrounded by good friends, McDonald was once again encouraged to open a branch in St James.

"In 2012, I saw a couple of friends from Montego Bay and they just jokingly said, ‘Why don’t you come to Montego Bay and start a school?’

"And, I said, Oh, you have children,’ and they were like ‘Yes we have kids.’ And I was like alright, cool. And, within a week I came and looked at place," said McDonald.

The school in Montego Bay, she said, started with 17 students, but now has an enrolment of 80.

It is being supervised by Danielle Effs, education concierge (principal), who has under her wings a group of enthused and motivated teachers.

Teachers Shantaul Simpson and Shanae Patterson told the Observer West that their aim is to "find magic in learning and to make learning fun".

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