What Is The History Of Madge Saunders Contribution To Early Childhood Education In Jamaica?


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Madge Saunders made a huge contribution to childhood education in Jamaica. She was instrumental in facilitating the training of basic schoolteachers, having worked previously for the Kelly Lawson Training Centre, a tourist industry-training organisation.
Marjorie Prentice Saunders was born in 1913 in St Mary, Jamaica and became a lawyer at the age of 23. Whilst working as a travelling organiser for the United Church in Jamaica, she saw that untrained people were running several schools for small children. In 1950, she selected six people from six different parishes and ran a six-week basic training course. These six people became the first schoolteachers who had been trained in Jamaica. The Kelly Lawson School began training teachers and youth workers on Sundays and Operation Friendship was set up.
Operation Friendship provided medical assistance in Maternal and Child Health and also skill training and income-generating programmes for young people. Madge Saunders then became the Organising Secretary of the Girl's Club in Jamaica. This was a voluntary organisation for spiritual and skill development for young girls. This programme was later extended to include companies in the Bahamas, Haiti, Guyana and Trinidad. Madge was honoured for her services to the movement in 1960 and travelled to Britain to form the Girl's Brigade.
She later worked for a nun's organisation for the elderly and assisted in the Homeless Children's House. She was ordained as a Minister of Religion and became a Deaconess whilst working at the Presbyterian Church of England. She later wrote a book called "Living in Britain." Parts of this book were transferred into printed booklets and they were translated into several languages, discussing mechanisms though which racial harmony could be achieved. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Madge Saunders died in 2009 at the age of 96 in Jamaica.

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