Wheelock Graduates 60 Teachers in Barbados

October 23, 2017

Barbados 2017 GraduatesWheelock College held a commencement ceremony October 14 for its graduate teacher training program in Barbados, granting a total of 27 postgraduate certificates in Early Childhood Education and 33 Master of Science degrees in Care and Education in Early Childhood Settings.

The graduate training—which is a collaborative effort on the part of Wheelock College, Erdiston Teachers' Training College, and the Barbados Community College—was coordinated by the Barbados Higher Education Development Unit, a department of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation. It was funded predominantly by The Maria Holder Memorial Trust.

The program is part of a push by Barbados to dramatically expand access to early childhood education across the country, with a goal of having all of the country's three-year-olds placed either in a private or public nursery education setting by 2019.

  • Wheelock's one-year certificate program in Barbados was launched in 2013. It has had a total of 76 graduates, with teachers representing every parish across Barbados.
  • Wheelock's Barbados master's program, which began in 2016, was designed to offer teachers a pathway to a full master's degree and an opportunity to be part of a network of trained teacher-leaders who can support each other and lead advocacy efforts across the island.

At the recent commencement ceremony, Barbados Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Ronald Jones delivered the opening address and Wheelock College President Dr. David Chard gave the commencement address.

Dr. Chard called on the graduates to follow the example of Wheelock founder Lucy Wheelock, who tirelessly devoted herself to the cause of early childhood education and set very high expectations for herself, her colleagues, and the children they served. He advised them to be inspiring and to embrace change.

"Your post-graduate certificates or your Master's degree from Wheelock doesn't represent what you know," he said. "Rather, it represents a license to prepare for change....to learn. As a teacher, particularly a teacher of young children, you have to anticipate changes they will see ahead of them. To do this, you have to focus less on what to know and more on how to learn. Change will be an inevitable part of our children's future—we have to help them develop to be strong, powerful thinking people in spite of this change."

Wheelock has a history of partnership in the Caribbean, having offered BS and MS programs in Bermuda for 10 years (1996-2006) and an MS in The Bahamas in 2007-2009. The current program grew out of an effort by an American Wheelock alumna, Dr. Lenore Rubin, who read about Wheelock's international work in an alumni newsletter and connected the college to a family foundation on the island with whom she had been working, The Maria Holder Memorial Trust, because she saw a need there for work and training around early childhood education. Conversations with Dr. Rubin, her fellow alumna Dr. Ronnie Stangler, representatives of the Trust, and the two higher education institutions (Barbados Community College and Erdiston Teachers' Training College) in 2012 led to the development of a proposal for Wheelock to offer professional development around early childhood education.

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