In June 2021, the Expertise Center Education Care Saba (EC2) was presented with the prestigious Appeltje van Oranje award for their work on supporting the Mental Strength of students, through their approach called “Ways to Wellbeing”. The EC2 was one of three awardees for 2021 and the only Dutch Caribbean awardee for this year.
Former Youth Development Specialist of EC2 and co-developer of the Ways to Wellbeing approach, Rayann Ramdin-Joseph, has since written a children’s workbook to share some simple methods of this approach, that can be guided by parents, teachers, and other professionals alike.
The book, Solid as a Rock: A Workbook on Resilience for the Caribbean Child, draws many references to Saba through its title, cover art, and activity in the book which references Mount Scenery. It has been dedicated to the children of Saba, by Trinidad-born Ramdin-Joseph; a psychologist with over 10 years of experience in the fields of Education and Youth Development, who credits the uniqueness of Saba and the resilience of its children for the inspiration behind the book.
She explains that children learn in a more meaningful way when they can relate to the information being presented, thus she felt it very important to develop a book that children in the Caribbean could identify with and is specific to their culture. The book also allows Saban children to learn about the culture of other islands while being exposed to the different traits of resilience.
The author goes on to explain that though life does not come with a user’s manual, this book teaches young children how to create and maintain a positive mindset while filling their life’s toolbox with self-confidence, courage, and optimism so that they can successfully troubleshoot difficult situations or recognize when and who to ask for help.
The book is divided into three main sections. The first section consists of topics in the form of illustrations and short creative and practical exercises. The second section has been developed to promote reflective practices, in the form of short journal entries. The third section is a series of island-inspired coloring pages that are categorized into two subsections: Relax and Affirm.
“When children can develop and practice resilience at a young age, it means that they are also able to develop a greater sense of mental wellness and purpose at a young age, which contributes to a more enriched life experience”- Rayann Ramdin-Joseph.
The book is available on Saba for purchase from the EC2 and can also be found online on Amazon.com.