GREAT BAY – Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Emil Lee, paid a visit to Ideal Pre-School to officially launch their Sustainable Roof Garden (Green House), which was featured on Earth Day.
Minister Lee was given the honor of cutting the green ribbon and declared the green house to be officially open. He also planted some pumpkin seeds in the pumpkin patch of the green house, and thereafter took a brief tour of the pre-school with owner and director of Ideal Pre-School Agnes Kapoor.
“Teaching about health benefits of eating organic home grown produce at a very young age ensures that it carries on later in life. This also teaches appreciation for how much effort it takes to grow food and therefore waste less,” Minister Lee pointed out.
With his genuine gesture of paying a visit to Ideal Pre-School, Minister Emil Lee has conveyed a very powerful message. Kapoor stated, “We as a community, can do things to make this world a better place.”
The event was also attended by Head of Collective Prevention Services (CPS) at the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Virginia Asin-Oostburg, who had coordinated with Kapoor, the minister’s visit. Also present was Care teacher at Sundial School and the National Institute for Professional Advancement Jacky Morris, and a few parents and guests.
The Minister and guests were warmly welcomed by Kapoor during her opening remarks, and were delighted by the singing of the St. Maarten song sung by three-year olds from the pre-school.
The entire sustainable roof garden was built from mostly material that is normally wasted, like broken wooden pallets, used plastic bottles, hard boxes and so on, Kapoor explained. Minister Lee shared his views about the school’s project, adding that re-purposing plastic bottles is also good for public health.
The pre-school plants their vegetables and herbs in the green house, which are then used in the kitchen for making fresh meals for the school children. Lee was also quite impressed with the fact that there was active involvement by parents. He believes in active parental engagement in school activities as this contributes to a better learning environment that benefits the entire family and school.
The Minister encouraged school management, staff and the parent-teacher committee to keep engaging in more partnerships where the needs and resources can be put together for mutual benefit.
The Minister suggested partnering with the St. Martin Home for the Elderly, and probably making a program where the children from the pre-school can meet and interact with senior citizens, such as reading stories to them.
Minister Lee also shared his idea of turning the open yard between the St. Martin Home and the White & Yellow Cross buildings into a playground where partnership programs between the children and the elderly could materialize.
Kapoor applauded the Minister on this idea and signified her willingness to take the necessary steps to achieve this wonderful goal of bringing two innocent minds together (the child and a senior citizen) for their mutual benefit, and to give the elderly person a reason to smile and look at the brighter side of life.
The Minister promised to extend any help needed to make this vision come true.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister of Public Health Emil Lee (right) being assisted by toddlers with cutting the green ribbon signifying the official opening of the green house.