By Naomi Parris
THERE is a heightened level of anxiety in the atmosphere as the world continues to watch the COVID-19 virus sweep across countries, killing almost two million people globally and crumbling economies.
While there has been a mental strain on adults and young people, the pandemic also has its effects on young children as they are still trying to comprehend what a pandemic really is. As such, Tazena Joseph-Phyll, a teacher of the Lusignan Nursery School on the East Coast of Demerara, has penned a story book – ‘David Back to School Day’ – to help her pupils comprehend the basics of the pandemic and to somewhat comfort them during these unprecedented times.
According to the teacher, who is currently in her final year at the University of Guyana (UG), the concept of writing a story book came along when she was given an assignment in one of her classes.
Wanting to do something that will help benefit her children at home and pupils of the school, Joseph – Phyll came up with the idea of writing a story book that will teach young children about the pandemic and guide them through the transitioning period of learning to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
“We were doing this subject – children literature and storytelling – where we are looking at various children books and the importance of it and so on. After looking at these books, our lecturer asked us to do various assignments, one of which we had to create a story book of our own,” she said, adding: “The idea came to me, I thought of my school-aged children at home. I know they miss their friends and they are not working the way that they are used to. So the inspiration came from them and then thinking too about the children in my class,” the teacher told the Guyana Chronicle during an interview.
Joseph-Phyll explained that during this time when classes have to be administered online or in a virtual space, nursery school children especially have a hard time staying focused.
“Parents would complain about the children, they don’t want to do their work, they want teacher to teach them. So, I understand how difficult it is for the children.”
Joseph-Phyll stated that the story of the book is centred on a young boy returning to school during the pandemic and learning the importance of following the COVID-19 guidelines to protect himself and friends.
The book, she hopes, will be a guideline for children at the nursery level to prepare them for when it is time to return to their usual classroom setting.
“Another thing I do realise is the fact that they will have to go out back; yes, they will be excited to see a lot of their friends but they will have to make a lot of adjustments.”
The book has not yet been published as Joseph-Phyll is awaiting word from her lecturer. She aims to publish and distribute it to nursery schools across the country.