Students to learn about Bermudian traditions
Tradition bearers of Bermudian culture are to be introduced into public primary and middle school curriculums as part of a joint project by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Education.
Students are supplied with a programme and companion study guide to help them learn from tradition bearers who are recognised in the community as practitioners of a traditional artistic activity or skill that has been passed on and that is perceived as having value.
The skills are described as those that remain within living memory rather than those that died out.
The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs first created the initiative in December 2014 to introduce the skills, knowledge and expertise of the island's valued tradition bearers with young people. A tradition bearer typically learnt the skill informally from others within the community, orally or by example, rather than through books, classes, or other means of academic or commercial instruction.
Last week, artist Ronnie Chameau shared her passion for making handcrafted dolls using natural plant material with students attending primary 4 and 5 students at Heron Bay School. Junior Minister of Social Development and Sports, Nandi Outerbridge said in a statement: “It was amazing to see how Ronnie Chameau prepares her dolls, very detailed and precise.
“The children seemed to really enjoy the presentation as well as learning a bit about St David's Islanders and Bermuda history all while having fun. This programme will help develop an appreciation of this knowledge at an early age while fostering pride in who we are as a people.”
Director of the department Heather Whalen added: “This initiative is but one way of promoting and fostering cultural sustainability. So far the Department has worked collaboratively to have the project integrated into a few Primary Schools — Northlands Primary, Victor Scott and Heron Bay.
“We would like to thank the principals and respective teachers for working with us to ensure that this project got off the ground. Their support is integral to the success and viability of this project.
“We intend to continue working with the Ministry of Education, as our industry partner, to have the programme integrated in all of the primary and middle schools.”
The accompanying study guide is designed to use in conjunction with instruction in social studies, history, English, geography and civics to provide an understanding of these subjects as they relate to the lives of Bermudians.
Among the tradition bearers who have agreed to participate are George Burt (building arts); Milton Hill Sr (wood craft); Janice Warner (Gombey crafts); Randolph Furbert (beekeeping); and Llewellyn Hollis (fishing).
It is hoped that the programme will build further sustainability for folklife programmes and introduce students to Bermudian arts, crafts, fishing, farming beekeeping and cuisine.
Acting Commissioner of Education Freddie Evans said: “We are very pleased to partner with the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs to expose our students and increase their knowledge of aspects of our country's folklife and cultural heritage.
“It is essential for the continuance of our heritage and culture that the knowledge, skills and expertise of our tradition bearers is passed on to future generations of young Bermudians.”
The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs will be reaching out to other tradition bearers to invite them to take part.