March 5, 2010
A love for teaching


Mrs. Norma Marshall is a well-known figure in the Chateaubelair community. Her experience with early childhood education began since the early 1950s as a teenager with no formal training or teacher experience. “You see,” she reveals, “I loved teaching and wanted to become a teacher. Perhaps it was because my father was a Headmaster and I looked up to him and wanted to be like him.”{{more}}

Her teaching career in Early Childhood Education began in the downstairs of her grandmother’s house and continued until she got married and began raising her own family. However, after a number of years had passed, she again resorted to her first love – teaching preschoolers. So, in January 1986, the Plan Pre-school opened its doors with seven children and two teachers in the building that housed the Chateaubelair Seventh Day Adventist Church. The pre-school enrolment gradually increased until the facilities became inadequate to accommodate the number of children who accessed an early start to education under her care.

Over the years, Mrs. Marshall upgraded her qualifications and skills, receiving training and certification in Early Childhood Care and Education at VINSAVE. She shared that her ambitions were to enlarge the small setting in which she had previously began operations to one that had an improved ambiance. In September 2008 her dream became a reality when she opened Bethel Pre-school in Chateaubelair. “I gave it that name because I feel that hitherto had the Lord brought us,” Mrs. Marshall says. The Mission of the school is “Nurturing young minds for the future by educating the whole child; spiritually, academically, socially, physically and emotionally to achieve economic and academic success so that we can build a better St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

However, Mrs. Marshall’s contribution to nation building is not confined to the pre-schoolers with whom she interacts. In 2007, the school started giving a one-year scholarship to graduates of the pre-school who passed the Common Entrance Examinations. The school is currently experimenting with Night care, afterschool classes and evening classes for CXC. Many past students who were under her care are now college and university graduates. “I have a passion for children, a desire to learn from them, and a commitment to understand them. They are so eager to learn, and constantly amaze me with what they are able to do,” shares Mrs. Marshall. “I love teaching young children, with all its rewards and challenges.  It is a joy to help children develop a love for God and discover the wonders of learning.”

Mrs. Marshall attributed part of her success to her VINSAVE training and hails this institution as a mentor and pioneer that has continued for more than forty years providing rich continuity in early childhood education. She continues to retool herself in early childhood education as well, and attends as many training workshops and seminars provided by the Ministry of Education. “I have truly enjoyed being a Pre-school teacher for more than 30 years. I love the joy and spontaneity of the children. I look forward to coming to school every day,” Mrs. Marshall shares.

We salute this pioneer in Early Childhood Education who says she is glad to be entrusted with some of the responsibility of carrying forward one of the areas that has become one of the trademarks of the education revolution.