Primary schools across Belize will be adapting a new literacy programme in the coming months. Now, this programme is unique because the children themselves influenced its direction in the preliminary stages.
It is based around Pat, a Belizean jaguar transported to the US in hopes of keeping his species alive after being classed as a problem jaguar. This great cat was captured after he started hunting and killing cattle belonging to farmers in the Honey Camp Lagoon.
Children from Belize and Milwaukee in the US teamed up to try to raise awareness by documenting their version of how the cat would have given his version of events, which was adapted into a book.
That book is called "Pat, the Great Cat, a Jaguar's Journey", and it was launched in October of this year. It now has a fully planned out, GOB endorsed Literacy project which was launched today at the Belize Elementary Gym.
7News stopped by and asked the project coordinator about the significance of this programme.
Here's what she had to say:
Barbara Thumalapally - Belize Coordinator, PTGGC Literacy Project
"The literacy project grew out of the book that was written by children of Belize and children of Milwaukee who got together - we told them the story of Pat who is a Belizean jaguar that went up to Milwaukee and he is true jaguar and he just had baby cubs in fact and was announced today, so it's very exciting and so our project was built on this book and when we started taking it around the schools and telling the story - we collected all the materials from the children and it was turned into this beautiful book that you see now "Pat the great cat.""
"The project itself was started after we had the launched last October and we've been taking a group of Peace Corps volunteers and myself - we travelled around to different districts working with Ministry of Education and some teachers as well - we are developing lesson plans to put on the internet and we are also putting together workshops so that teachers can come for two day workshops if possible and we are setting that up with all the managers in different districts."
Although the book can be used by students of all ages, the target group is for primary school children in Standard IV (4).