National roll out of Skills for Life Programmes in the Cayman Islands
The Alex Panton Foundation, Partnership for Children’s licensed partner organisation in the Cayman Islands, launched Zippy’s Friends, Zippy’s Friends for Special Educational Needs and Apple’s Friends in October 2019. Our programmes are one of the first children’s mental health promotion programmes in the Cayman Islands embedded into the school curriculum. We are delighted to share that the programmes have reached 472 children over the past year thanks to the dedication of everyone involved in The Alex Panton Foundation.
We are thrilled that the current 2020-2021 cycle includes a national roll-out in collaboration with The Department of Education, which supports the School Recovery Project, aimed at addressing the gap created during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Alex Panton Foundation have shared their experiences of launching and rolling out the programmes in the Cayman Islands over the past year:
'The Alex Panton Foundation was honoured to partner with the Partnership for Children to launch the Emotional Literacy Programmes (ELP) - Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends, in the Cayman Islands in 2019. As a Mental Health Foundation, being able to teach children skills for life, including how to cope with everyday difficulties and how to communicate effectively with and get along with other people (while teaching self-awareness and building emotional resilience), is absolutely key to our mission.'
'We are extremely proud to be implementing the Zippy’s Friends SEND programme, in line with the Cayman Islands Disability Policy, which aims to improve inclusion and equal access to health care, including mental health care. Out of 32 countries who have implemented the Skills for Life programmes worldwide, The Cayman Islands was the first to secure the license for both the mainstream and Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) pathway from the beginning of implementation. The implementation of these two pathways at the same time ensures equal access and opportunity for all children, regardless of ability or need.'
While the Covid-19 pandemic affected the completion of the programme in some of the schools, we enjoyed hearing about the teacher’s experiences of delivering the programme and the positive changes that were observed in the classrooms. We are particularly excited about the national roll-out for 2020 and eager to see what the next year of implementation will bring. Twenty-two schools (including all Government Primary Schools) have signed up for the 2020-21 school year and the teacher training brought together many teachers who were very enthusiastic about bringing emotional literacy to all primary schools in Cayman. We are thrilled about the success of the programme and could not have done this without help from our generous sponsors and donors. We are also very appreciative of the support from the Cayman Islands Government in allowing us to implement the programme in all their primary schools. We look forward to continuing to brighten the future for our children with this programme.'
Watch their video here: