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More Than 180 Children Benefit From Stress Management Camps

Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, interacts with children taking part in a Ministry-sponsored summer camp at the Whitfield Town Primary School, in Kingston, recently. The stress management camp focused on music, sports, technology and parenting.

More than 180 children from Kingston and St. James benefitted from a summer programme in the HeartMath pilot project, organised by the Ministry of National Security, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.

HeartMath is a stress management system that helps persons synchronise their brain and heart for optimal stress resistance and mental performance.

According to the Acting Director of the Crime Prevention and Community Safety Branch, Renee Steele, the summer camp gave students the opportunity to learn about new things that are not readily available in their everyday lives.

“The programme also provides a therapeutic atmosphere, one that distracts from the harsh realities that they face in their communities on a daily basis,” she added.

The three-week camps, which were held in Kingston and St. James, in July, focused on music, sports, technology and parenting.

The National Youth Orchestra facilitated children being exposed to wind, percussion and string instruments.

Ms. Steele noted that the sports component of the camp saw a mix of educational games, discipline-centred martial arts, and boxing.

“These specific sporting activities were ideal, because of the calming and emotional mastery effects they prove to have on participating individuals,” she added.

The technology component was facilitated by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) and included a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) introduction to robotics. This included a hands-on teaching session on assembling and operating drones.

The parenting component engaged parents and guardians of the students in a one-day interactive session, aimed at promoting effective parenting skills on nutrition, discipline, support systems and relationship building with their children and the schools.

Guidance Counsellor at Denham Town Primary School and Coordinator of the summer programme, Mahalia Dennis Edwards, lauded the initiative.

“Already, we are seeing positive behaviour change in the participants. We thank all the stakeholders who came on board to make this happen and I am really appreciative of this for our students,” she said.

Students from Barracks Road and Corinaldi Avenue Primary Schools participated in the camp in St. James; and students from Chetolah Park, Denham Town and Whitfield Town Primary Schools took part in the Kingston camp.


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