Grandfather sets up learning centre

Momase, Normal

The National, Thursday July 26th, 2012

A GRANDFATHER’S love of teaching has seen the birth of an early childhood learning programme that is producing excellent results for villages near Madang town.
Dum Jabon taught in Lutheran Mission schools around Madang for 34 years and retired recently to his Siar village. 
However, rather than quietly enjoying his retirement, he gathered his own grandchildren and began teaching them reading, numbers and reciting Bible scriptures.
What started out for his 10 grandchildren in 2007 soon attracted the interest of other parents in the village, who sent their four to six-year-olds to Jabon for half a day of instructions.
The kindergarten and nursery caught the attention of the RD Foundation, a part of the RD Tuna Canners operating near Siar village along the North Coast Road.
Jabon’s daughter Wosmai, who was already working with RD Foundation, was sent for training by the International Education Agency in Madang to help her father in teaching a more structured early childhood programme.
Lessons are taught in the local Bel language and English.
Nutrition and healthy eating habits are instilled into the children. 
Thursday is nutrition day, when mothers serve specially prepared lunches for their children. 
As a result of that early training, those children who had gone through Dum Memorial, named after the retired teacher, were better learners than those who were enrolled directly into Siar Elementary School, school chairman Lou Selan said. 
RD Foundation used Dum Memorial as a stepping stone to support the establishment of similar schools at three other villages – Darimdau, Kananam and Maiwara.
It has also enabled teachers to undergo training at IEA Madang.
The trained teachers are assisted by four volunteer teachers who are paid allowances by RD Foundation. 
The four full-time teachers are employees of RD Foundation.
The four nurseries have enrolments of between 50 and 100 children each.