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Train up a child . . .

Anesta Henry

Train up a child . . .

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Instructing and directing her dolls was one of Sandie Kellman’s favourite pastimes as a child.
She also had sound leadership qualities.
She and those who watched her believed “that the Lord was directing me into the teaching capacity”, which is exactly where she ended up.
For more than a decade she has touched the lives of over 10 000 children in various areas of teaching and is proud of many success stories related to her tutelage.
For her contribution to the education sector, she recently won the annual Royal Fidelity National Distinguished Teachers’ Award in the nursery and preschool section.
“I feel very thankful to God because it is He who has given me the energy, talent, grace and passion to come to work with my children every day. The award is for my children,” she told the MIDWEEK NATION.
The mother of one daughter began her career as an educator 25 years ago at Codrington High School, where she did her in-service training.
After two years there, she started the Sunbeam Baby Care and Montessori Preschool, which was eventually followed by the opening of the Reading School after she saw the need to help children with dyslexia, attention deficit disorders and general reading issues.
The meaning of her name (“helper of mankind”) informs the philosophy she applies to her everyday life. She applies this when working with children from the cradle to 19 years old, passing on to them strong values that would assist in their growth and development mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, socially and intellectually.
“One of the most rewarding moments in my teaching career was when a lady brought a child to my school one day and never returned for him. I kept that child and cared for him until a decision was made as to who would look after him.
“I took him home and my husband and I cared for him in all aspects. Eventually when a decision was made, he went to live with his grandmother, who lives abroad. He called me his angel,” she recalled.
Kellman believes that teachers of today should not be focused only on teaching awareness, but must also teach children etiquette, manners, discipline, good spirituality and values.
“If we focused more on teaching our children these principles, we would see
less of the problems we are seeing in our society today. If you inculcate values and morals from the cradle and the child is taught what is right from wrong – good morning, sorry and thank you – these should carry the child through to the adulthood stage of life.”
Kellman, whose husband is also in the education field, was quick to note that the job of training a child should not be left solely to a teacher. Parents also had a pivotal role to play.
“Parents need to spend more time training their children and keeping abreast with the friends they are choosing. Parents need to guide their children, especially when it comes to social media.
“Parents, encourage your children to do things such as reading books, knitting. Engage in outdoor games and general activities of yesteryear which will help them to develop mentally, rather than putting them in front a television all day when they are at home,” the principal advised.
Those who are familiar with her either directly or indirectly know that she is generally a passionate individual when it comes to addressing child and education issues.
She is also quite bold in speaking out about these issues in the public domain, often sounding her voice on the popular Down To Brass Tacks call-in programme.
She holds very strongly the view that Barbados’ education system needs to be revised to meet the needs of today’s children.
“And I make no apologies for saying this,” she said. “There are too many children in the classroom at one time, especially children who are not coping or have challenges, and I think this needs to be addressed as soon as possible.”
Still glowing with delight and feeling a sense of pride about winning the distinguished teacher award, the educator, who also runs the Sunbeam Vacation Camp, indicated that she plans to start a ministry in the education field, focused on helping the less fortunate.
When she is not spearheading the running of her institutions or teaching, Kellman is busy giving back to her community.
She is a former Girl Guide Commissioner, member of the Optimist Club, Ministry of Education’s National Council for Adult Literacy, Barbados Association of Reading, a sign language tutor and Sunday School teacher at Our Lady Queen of the Universe Roman Catholic Church, among others.