Feb 16, 2017
Miami, Florida, United States
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America recently launched the first of a series of textbooks for thousands of pupils across Adventist schools in the territory.
The new Spanish language textbooks will be used for first graders in 422 primary schools in the Spanish-speaking countries in the Inter-American Division (IAD).
“This is a dream that our Division has had for decades and is becoming a reality,” said Gamaliel Flórez, education director for the church in Inter-America.
Already, the department has produced and distributed Bible textbooks for grades K-8 in English, Spanish, and French, and soon will have high school Bible textbooks available, but creating and producing a Spanish textbook has been quite an accomplishment, said Flórez.
The strategy of the department to begin developing Spanish textbooks for its primary or elementary schools was based on how similar educational programs are in the Hispanic countries in the IAD, explained Flórez.
Flórez said that there are many good Spanish language textbooks available, but many contain fictional stories that have to do with Spiritism, evolution and other subject matter contrary to biblical teachings.
“Our textbooks need to reflect our Adventist philosophy, so that we can teach children about the love of Jesus and how they can serve Him,” explained Flórez.
The new textbook was developed by a group of seasoned teachers and educators from the IAD, under the leadership of Faye Patterson, associate education director overseeing primary and secondary education for the church in Inter-America.
“The integration of faith in every part of the new textbooks has been a priority,” said Patterson.
Patterson worked for months in shaping the textbook and ensuring that it met government standards in the different Spanish countries of the IAD territory.
Before publication, the textbook was sent to several schools for feedback. “We received so many positive reviews, and adjusted to the observations provided,” said Patterson.
The Inter-American Division Publishing Association (IADPA) is the editor and publisher of the first-grade Spanish language textbook as well as an online teacher’s guide textbook.
The new second grade Spanish textbook will be available in the coming weeks, Patterson said.
The dream is to also provide textbooks in English and French territories but there are many differences in educational systems in the English-speaking countries and islands as well as the Church’s French-speaking territory, according to Flórez.
“IADPA is looking into other Adventist publishing houses about the possibility of developing English language arts textbooks for our English-speaking primary schools” said Flórez.
Plans are underway to develop math and science textbooks intertwined with faith concepts, added Flórez.
“Our interest is to teach biblical principles and yes we teach respect toward different thinking, but our schools are there to form children and young people in the Adventist faith,” said Flórez, who also emphasized that more than 60 percent of students in the 654 primary schools are not of the Adventist faith.
“Our faith based textbooks will help teach students and effect positive changes in their lives, and in turn extending that to their families and their community,” Flórez said.
Adventist schools in Inter-America can order the new textbooks through their local union office.
The Inter-American Division oversees 654 primary schools including 422 in Spanish, 83 in English and 149 in the French territories, where over 82,000 students attend every year.
For more information on Inter-America’s education department and activities, visit interamerica.org