The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is fostering a new wave of entrepreneurship and innovation among Jamaicans, many of whom are staying at home or are out of work.

One such individual is St. Ann early-childhood teacher, Racquel Davis, who has created an alternative source of income, through her recently formed business ‘Racquel’s Smart Start’.

Mrs. Davis, who teaches at the Miracle Tabernacle Basic School in St. Ann’s Bay, told JIS News that since the closure of schools in March, she has not received her usual monthly salary, due to the non-payment of school fees by some parents, several of whom have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

With her savings drying up, Mrs. Davis said she drew on her training and artistic skills to create learning aids to assist parents during distance learning.

“I realised that most of the parents did not have the resources to teach the children as how we would have done in the classroom. They were asking me how to get these [teaching aids] and I looked at that and decided to do a business pertaining to that,” she told JIS News.

Mrs. Davis said that her learning aids are child-friendly and designed to “grab their attention”.

“I create learning aids such as building blocks, alphabet, numbers, shapes and colour charts – interactive charts – things that will keep the children engaged and help to develop their fine motor skills,” she noted.

Mrs. Davis shares that there has been increased interest in her three-week-old business, noting that she has secured a number of clients within that time frame.

“I have gotten a number of orders. Now that back to school is coming up, I have decided to create flash cards and to personalise them. I am not just catering for parents only; I am also catering to schools as well,” she pointed out.

The early-childhood teacher said that with the recent sales, she has been able to pay some of her bills.

Mrs. Davis adds that her goal is to partner with early-childhood institutions to supply teaching aids on a larger scale.