"Equipping children at an early age to read and write is fundamental to kick start a child's life," said BSP Group General Manager Retail, Paul Thornton, when announcing BSP's continued support to the Buk bilong Pikinini (BbP) Library Learning Centres in PNG.
Mr Thornton said that BSP was continuing its support as a platinum sponsor with over K226, 000 to the program this year. He said teaching children from a young age the basics of early learning skills with an emphasis on literacy and numeracy is vital for a successful start to their education and career.
"BSP is happy to contribute towards the development of our children in PNG not only through basic numeracy and literacy skills but also through financial literacy, equipping them with real life skills to sustain and apply in their livelihoods now and in future."
Mr Thornton added that BSP has so far invested over K1.4m since 2012 in assisting Buk bilong Pikinini with their operations as well as maintaining and sustaining the three libraries in Lae, Goroka and Manus.
In 2019, financial literacy sessions were introduced at the libraries in partnership with the BSP team to teach the children the value of money and saving through fun and interactive games and activities.
BSP's donation enables the enrolment of over 470 children in 2020 at Library Learning Centres in Lae, Goroka and Manus, as classes resume today (04/05/2020).
BSP has been working in partnership with BbP since 2012 and have witnessed hundreds of children graduating from the program with acquired skills and positive behaviours. These sessions will continue this year across BbP's Library Learning Centres.
In addition to this, BbP has upgraded its numeracy and pre-STEM curriculum to provide the children with an opportunity to learn through play and gain better skills in these subjects before starting school. The children engage in activities such as counting on abacus, shape sorting, measuring objects and body parts, finding materials and weighing them, assessing volumes and much more.
"It is wonderful to see the children so engaged in our new numeracy program and we are grateful to BSP for their generous long-term support. The BSP team have developed a very clever real-life application program, which paired with the BbP curriculum will make the children little number experts", said Anne-Sophie Hermann, BbP Founder and Chair.
"BbP's early childhood development and education program is all about stimulating the children to develop a love for learning - and great numeracy skills should be no exception," Anne Sophie added.
Buk bilong Pikinini is currently working on providing teachers and children with a digital learning platform and will be providing the children with an opportunity to increase their combined digital, literacy and numeracy skills in 2021.
As classes will commence on the 4th of May at BbP Library Learning Centres, BbP is not quite
back to normal. Social distancing and strict hygiene measures are in place as a result of the global pandemic.
BSP Banking Education/Agents Manager, Gabriel Nangile with students
from Tatana Island Library during a Financial Literacy Session in 2019
Buk bilong Pikinini's awareness program includes learning about potentially life- threatening diseases through play and singing to ensure the children remember the lessons taught and take the message home. BbP has always asked the parents to ensure the children have washed their face, hands and feet before coming to the libraries in the morning but we will now implement mandatory hand washing and sanitizing before entry, teaching in smaller groups and on alternate days.