Challenor Creative Arts and Training Centre
There are several institutions in Barbados that cater to students with special needs, but unlike those schools, the Challenor Creative Arts and Training Centre is the only one of this kind in the island that accommodates students from the ages of 5 to 50.
The Centre was originally founded by a group of concerned parents who had children with disabilities. In September 1964, it was officially opened in Cane Field, St. Thomas and ran by a set of Carmelite order of Nuns; those Nuns were the first of teachers at the institution.
The school is divided into two sections: a primary and secondary level for students between the ages of five and eighteen, and an adult training facility for students ranging from the ages of eighteen to fifty.
In the primary and secondary level there are seven classrooms and seven teachers, each teacher has an assistant; while in the adult facility there are four teachers and four assistants.
The school caters to anyone disabled within the stipulated age range: either physically and mentally challenged. These include the blind, hearing impaired and those who are autistic.
The teachers train the students by implementing their own educational plan which caters to each student varying from student to student. According to the child’s specific needs and ability, the teachers would in turn give the student the necessary attention.
The adult students are educated with a more holistic approach, they are taught subjects which deal with the training of life skills. Their curriculum includes subjects like: shopping, cooking programs, sowing and craft, agricultural and landscaping classes and woodwork.
These types of subjects are vital so that the students can be well equipped in carrying out the needed day-to-day activities as their peers do daily.
Twice each week, a therapist is provided for the students and like any other learning institution, the children are also given the opportunity to go on field trips during the school term and have weekly games sessions.
These games sessions help train the students for various special games they participate in. One such game was the International Special Olympics World Summer Games which the students participated in, in Shanghai, China in 2007. The competition ran from October 2nd – 11th, the students won three medals.
The Government funded but privately owned institution, has approximately eighty students in the school; about forty children and forty adults. This number drastically increased compared to the eight students who attended the school when it was originally opened.
As the student enrollment continues to grow and the school continues to receive funding and donations for their developments, the students continue to do their best at every task put before them.
Author: Brett Callaghan