Premier backs project to teach kids Cayman heritage

Concerned about the need for young people to gain an understanding of their heritage the premier has partnered with Cayman Traditional Arts to start an afterschool programme for school children in years five and six.

Mckeeva Bush, said ‘Bringing Heritage to Life’ will be available to students in all districts and will over twelve weeks expose children to the history and traditions that have been neglected by the regular school curriculum. . “We need to ensure that every Caymanian child knows who they are and where they come from; to have a deep understanding of heritage and culture, taught through history and art traditions of the Cayman Islands,” Bush said.

It is not clear which budget the programme is being funded from as neither the ministries responsible for culture or education are involved.

CNS asked the premier’s office if the project was being funded from the nation building fund or another source and we were told the programme is a “partnership between Cayman Traditional Arts and the Office of the Premier.”

“This programme is necessary, and for too long we have neglected this all too important component of our curriculum. This is a programme I wanted to launch many years now. I feel the times we live in now prove critical for us to do so. We don’t want our sense of self to be lost forever,” Bush added.

Chris Christian of CTA will the programme across all three islands and the premier said he could find no other person better suited to the project.

“Chris Christian is a Native Son, a celebrated local artist who has dedicated his life to the preservation of our heritage,” Bush said. “For the last seven years and through his company Cayman Traditional Arts, Mr. Christian has taught both locals and tourists about Cayman’s soul through culture and tradition. His knowledge of where we come from is vast and he is able to display that information in an artistic and engaging format. I am proud to have him on board this pilot programme. I have no doubt with his combined talents and passion this programme will be a success for our children.”

Christian has volunteered his time over the last few years at schools to teach students. In this programme, he will bring on board other local well-known artisans and historians he has worked with over the years to transfer their knowledge to the students. Over the 12 weeks the students will learn seafaring & thatch, cuisine & culinary skills as well as traditional games and entertainment.

“Bringing Heritage to Life” launched Monday, 5th September 2011 in the school hall of John A. Cumber Primary School in West Bay from 3 to 5pm.

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