Made-in-Waterloo region education program a success in Haiti

Educators are learning to become better teachers thanks to a program that is bringing together two school systems: one in Waterloo region and one in Haiti.

'Kids are kids and they just need opportunities to show what they're capable of'

This is the third year that a delegation of educators from Waterloo Region has traveled to Haiti to run the education programme. (Courtesy Steve Sider)

Educators are learning to become better teachers thanks to a program that is bringing together two school systems: one in Waterloo region and one in Haiti. 

The five-year Educator and Leadership Institute was organized in part by Wilfrid Laurier University's faculty of education and aims to support Haitian teachers and school principals in areas like teacher training and school leadership.

Children as young as four also have the opportunity to take part in a STEAM camp that is designed to get them interested and involved in subject areas like math, engineering and art.

"Kids are kids and they just need opportunities to show what they're capable of," said Andrew Braid, a supply teacher with the Waterloo Region District School Board who participated in the project for the second time this year.  

A multi-faceted approach

Started in 2016, the week-long program includes a STEAM camp for kids, an English language program for university students, and teacher and principal leadership training.

But, as Braid told CBC K-W, the Haitian students and teachers weren't the only ones being schooled this summer.

He says the Canadian cohort learned a lot through the experience.

"It was really a lot of reciprocity," Braid said. "Explaining some of what we do in Canada [and] hearing from the Haitian teachers how they apply things and really working together to try and both become better teachers."
 
With two more years to go, the goal of the project is for it to eventually become self-sustained. 

The hope, Braid said, is that teachers and administrators trained through the program can then go on to teach others, "so that this becomes the Haitians leading other Haitians."