BOOKS TO SHARPEN YOUNG MINDS: Maxfield Park Primary School



Maxfield Park Primary is a Jamaican school in St. Andrew which welcomes children up to the grade 6 level. Amidst a community plagued by poverty and crime, Maxfield shines as a beacon of hope. An explosion of colour awaits students within the school walls. The rooms, benches, and walkways display brightly coloured messages about learning. While much improved over the years, Maxfield still struggles with certain academic problems.




There has been a decline among some students’ scores for English, Mathematics, and Numeracy in the last couple of years. Presumably, one contributor to this decline is the inability of some parents to afford required books for their children. Books are mostly needed to help grades 4-6 pupils prepare for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP). This exam will determine the quality of high school into which they will enter. This, in turn, can ultimately affect their chances of entering university or getting well-paid jobs.



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The need to buy expensive textbooks must weigh heavily on the minds of parents. Financial burdens are a major cause of stress in many persons. Jamaican parents, especially, suffer from a high degree of stress; much higher than parents in the United States. Children of parents with stress like this often struggle more academically, cognitively, and behaviourally. Furthermore, high stress levels can negatively affect one’s interaction with one’s children. Studies show that stress can be reduced through parenting training, such as what is offered by our I Can Parent program. Jalawelo was happy help reduce the stress which may be facing parents via our Maxfield Park Primary book donation.



The principal addressing her hopeful students.

The principal addressing her hopeful students.

New, crisp books were donated to 20 students whose bright faces showed curiosity and pleasure as they were handed their very own books. Likewise, Principal Beverley Gallimore-Vernon, brimmed with joy once she saw the books. She has a genuinely deep connection with her children, which was clear from the way she spoke about and to them. Her positive view of their future is what drives her to work with various sources of aid such as Jalawelo. She will unleash the potential of each child by combining outside help from others in Jamaica with hard work by both children and staff.




The school understands that they have a long road ahead. While there has been great improvement in the school, it is not perfect.

The principal briefly informed us that some shooters have terrorized the surrounding community. She noted that, if not guided, this new generation of children will grow up to be criminals as well. This motivates them to embrace the school’s motto: “Academic Success Under Construction.” It reflects the reality that, although a long process, success can be possible.

Thank you for taking them one step further on the road to achievement through your support!

Photo Credit: Jessica Brown


Maxfield Park Primary’s commitment to excellence has led to the founding of it’s own “Centre of Excellence” in 2018. This Centre will be geared towards the fostering of student's’ creative talents in drama, music, and poetry! Learn more about this exciting, new initiative here!