Gertrude Welch, Senior Education Officer (right)??shares a laugh with Ronald Jones, Minister of Education and Human Resource Development (left)??and Karen Best, President of Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT)??(middle), today at the official opening of the Maria Holder Nursery School. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

The opening of the Maria Holder Nursery School fits well within the policy of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development "to ensure that every child of pre-school age has access to quality early childhood education".

This was disclosed today by Senior Education Officer (Nursery and Primary Schools), Gertrude Welch, as she addressed the official opening of the school, located at Sharon in St. Thomas.

Maintaining that the policy objective was to facilitate universal access to early childhood education for all children aged three to five years, she said, "This objective was further elaborated in the White Paper on Education Reform (1995) and the CARICOM Plan of Action, both of which called for provision of early childhood care and developmental activities for children of poor, disadvantaged backgrounds and children who have physical challenges."

She acknowledged that the Education Ministry was also committed to implementing strategies to provide universal access to nursery education, as articulated in the National Strategic Plan 2006-2025.

The school was funded by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust at a cost of $900,000. ??In light of this, Mrs. Welch told representatives of the Trust: "This project is a practical demonstration of the implementation of the motto "Each One Matters, Quality Education for All" as stated in the White Paper on Education Reform (1995).??

We are confident that the fine gesture of the Holder Family will be complimented by the excellent service that is being provided by the principal and her competent staff of teachers and the assistance of the other members of the community."

She further explained that the late Maria Holder worked for the Barbados Cancer Society and assisted many to further and better their education.?? Referring to Mrs. Holder’s?? famous quote, ???Without education you have nothing’, the Senior Education Officer said it was for this reason the Trust that bore her name?? was "determined to see all Barbadians have access to education at nursery level, the Maria Holder Nursery being the first of a number of schools built to achieve this."

Maria Holder who was born in Basle, Switzerland, made Barbados her home in 1976, until her untimely death in 2004, following a medical procedure.?? She is known to have given generously to many charitable projects here including the Paediatric Unit of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Aunty Olga’s Needy Children’s Fund and the Barbados Association for the Blind and Deaf.

The Maria Holder Nursery School project was started in July 2010 and completed in August of this year. At present, there are 76 students within the facility, but within another few weeks it is expected to run at full capacity with 120. Its Principal is Mrs. Shelly Boyce.


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