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Sandals Foundation, Beaches Resorts, and Sesame Workshop Present “Sesame Street: Let’s Learn!”

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FREE Resources & Webinars for Early Childhood Parents and Educators

#TurksandCaicos, June 19, 2021 – Supporting the educational development of the island’s young, the Sandals Foundation and Beaches Resorts have teamed up with Sesame Workshop’s Sesame Street in Communities to host three free webinars and share over 300 FREE online resources with educators and families of children ages Birth-8 years old.

The Sesame Street: Let’s Learn! initiative, which has been fully endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Services, forms part of Beaches Resorts’ longstanding partnership with Sesame Workshop. As a proud sponsor of Sesame Street, Beaches Resorts is the only resort company to offer Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street, which includes immersive, playful learning at the Sesame Street Kids Camp, walkaround characters, live shows, parades, and more. Through social impact initiatives with Sesame Street in Communities and the Sandals Foundation, the organizations are able to bring the laughter and learning of Sesame Street to local communities in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos.

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at Sandals Foundation says, “In light of the challenging time that it has been for families, educators and children, it was important for us to see how we engage our partners at Sesame Workshop who are experts in child development, creating age-appropriate content, and helping children cope with complex social issues and big feelings.”

“The resources,” Clarke said, “supplement children’s learning as well as provide social and emotional support so every child can succeed in school.”

Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President, U.S. Social Impact, at Sesame Workshop says, “We know this past year has been a challenge for families, caregivers, and educators. The free resources, including webinars and Sesame Street videos, storybooks, and more will keep children engaged and learning. We look forward to working with our longstanding partner Beaches Resorts, along with the Sandals Foundation, Ministry of Education, and the local community to help kids across the island grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.” Antonio Freitas, Senior Content Manager, Sesame Workshop is leading this effort in training.

The webinars address the most essential needs of children today—tackling school readiness, coping with the challenges that impact their learning, including health emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and building resilience in facing tough issues.

On Wednesday, June 9, just over 60 educators, parents, and caregivers joined Sesame Workshop early childhood experts online using the Zoom platform to explore school readiness resources geared to support children learning.

In his opening address, Edgar Howell, Director of Education, expressed delight in the collaboration noting, “We are excited about the webcasts, about the opportunities that are being provided to teachers, parents, and children especially given the impact that Covid-19 has had on Turks and Caicos. We are anxious to see what our teachers and parents will learn from being involved.”

During the interactive session, which explored the importance of learning through play, having parents/guardians present, and developing meaningful moments with children, attendees viewed videos and participated in activities, as well as shared their own experiences in ensuring children are school ready.

One parent participating in the session shared, “The workshop was very insightful with numerous topics for working with families, as well as professional development topics to explore. The videos and other resources will also prove to be very beneficial. An excellent session!”

On Wednesday, June 16, the second scheduled webcast will explore health emergencies, while on June 23, the early childhood experts will share how to help children build confidence and overcome challenges with resources that help develop resilience. Persons who were unable to attend the first session can access the recording through the Sandals Foundation or the Sesame Street in Communities Facebook pages. Parents and educators may also access the more than 300 learning resources through Sesame Workshop’s digital platform, Sesame Street in Communities and sign up for the upcoming webcasts at m.sesame.org/ssicbeaches.

Since the opening of Beaches Turks and Caicos in 1997, the company has invested in numerous educational projects, providing school supplies and facilitating development programs within schools.

James McAnally, General Manager at Beaches Resorts, says, “In addition to and independent of our work with Sesame Workshop. through the Sandals Foundation, we’ve been able to scale up the reach of our involvement within the sector by helping to distribute digital learning devices, coordinating the building of hand wash stations, facilitating upgrades to school facilities and hosting first aid, CPR and special needs training for teachers. These webinars are well timed and will certainly offer much needed support in these unique and ever-evolving times.”

Release: Sandals Resorts

Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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