The Rotary Club of New Kingston in collaboration with the Swallowfield Chapel currently facilitates a centre to support the learning opportunities of the children in the community.


In 2005 the Rotary Club of New Kingston launched a Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) project in the Swallowfield community in collaboration with the Swallowfield Chapel. Swallowfield is one of many inner-city communities within Kingston, which from time to time experiences upsurges in violence including gun violence.

The chapel is a focal point in the community which is heavily involved in affecting social change within the community in addition to its religious responsibilities.

The GSAT examination is a placement test that is taken by children of around 11 or 12 years of age to determine which high school they will be placed in. Higher scores in GSAT translate into placement in the more favoured or ‘traditional’ high schools. This project has enjoyed major success and challenges over these years and is now in need of strengthening and repositioning.

ImageEarly in the project it was recognized that a severe challenge to the success of the project was literacy. Children were reading far below their grade levels and several students in the GSAT classes could not understand the instructions given. Furthermore, it was also realized that the children oftentimes could not concentrate on their lessons due to being hungry. As news of the centre spread, parents who had children who were younger and older than GSAT ages and lived from several communities other than Swallowfield, started to attend weekly. The centre had become a focal point for pre-GSAT, GSAT and post GSAT children and the teaching and learning priorities had significantly expanded and inadvertently taken on a new scope. The GSAT project was then re-structured to the Homework Centre, and over the past year it has now being renamed as The Swallowfield Chapel Learning Centre. The Learning Centre operates Pre-primer, Pre-GSAT and GSAT classes. The centre also provides the children with warm meals and educational materials to assist in fostering an environment conducive for learning.

ImageCurrently, the Learning Centre which operates weekly on Saturdays from 9:00am to 12:00 noon, is one of several Outreach Ministries under Swallowfield Chapel. It hosts approximately 45 boys and girls between the ages of 5 — 12 years. The Learning Centre’s mandate focuses primarily on educational interventions but also incorporates social and spiritual teachings.

Through the employment of Reading Specialists and trained teachers, over the years there has been evidence of a positive increase in the performance of the children that attend the Centre. This evidence has been posited by their parents, teachers and also by their overall academic grades.

The overarching goal of The Learning Centre continues to be the fostering and development educational, social and spiritual needs of the children that attend the Centre.