Educator seeks to inspire children scientists with Likkle Einstein Saves The Beach
Kavelle Hylton with her book, Likkle Einstein Saves The Beach

Jamaican science educator Kavelle Hylton is on a mission to change the mindset of children from Jamaica and the wider Caribbean about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) as she embarks on a fun and creative way to teach the topic at the kindergarten and primary school level.

Hylton recently launched Likkle Einstein Saves The Beach, the first in a series of STEM books targeting kids, which also has a Likkle Einstein science kit or activity box that can be used to engage children with experiments.

According to Hylton, the book teaches children about the environment as well as how to use experimentation and critical thinking, but in a fun and creative way.

Likkle Einstein Saves The Beach tackles the issue of environmental pollution and takes readers on the journey of the main character Joshua and his friends Zion and Bianca, who use critical thinking to find creative ways to solve a challenge.

“These kids, Joshua, who is inspired by my son, whose name is Joshua, love going to the beach but on one of his trips to the beach, he encountered a seagull with plastic in its beak. He is wondering what is happening, he is asking his mom about it and he comes up with an idea that uses the STEM education approach to try and solve this problem.

“The book talks about how Joshua and his friends, Zion and Bianca, go about trying to solve this environmental issue. It brings out a lot of critical thinking, team building and also what I would call STEM capital, which is how the family can also be involved in fostering and facilitating that sort of development and knowledge in children,” Hylton said.

She stated that science educators, including early childhood practitioners and primary teachers, could utilise the concepts that are used in the book, as they show how to integrate STEM into different areas of the curriculum.

“I definitely think it is a great resource for early childhood education practitioners and primary school teachers, especially since it is an issue for them. The book uses an authentic problem and easy scientific enquiry, but at the same time the language is simple enough and its fun for the children,” Hylton said.

Hyton incorporates her 12 years of teaching knowledge into Likkle Einstein Saves The Beach.

She spent seven years at the secondary level at Convent of Mercy Alpha where she taught biology before going to the Scientific Research Council (SRC) as a science coordinator, in which she had to create programmes and activities for science teachers and also come up with ways to popularise science education.

“I have taken all of those experiences and knowledge studying about STEM, locally and internationally to bring together what is in this book and what I have created in this science kit,” she said.

According to Hylton, a deliberate attempt was made to make the characters in the book identifiable to the children of the region, starting with the title. She said the illustrations resemble children of the Caribbean, which is also an effort to show that children of colour can do STEM.

Hylton stated that while the book was not difficult to write, it took great effort to get the illustrations to convey the intended message at each stage, but the hope is that educators will embrace and make the book a part of the teaching resource.

She said she also wants children to be inspired by the content of the book and realise that they have a voice and role to play in helping the world to change.

The book can be purchased on Amazon in the kindle, paperback and hardcover formats.

JOB NELSON , Observer Online writer

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