Centre for Creative Learning gets new home
A new home for a school for children with learning problems will be a “game-changer” for Bermuda, the parent of one pupil said.
Tina Sjoberg said that statistics showed high levels of dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in Bermuda.
She added: “And it’s passed down in families.
“Kids that don’t get the right education don’t succeed.”
She was speaking as the Bermuda Centre for Creative Learning, where her son attends, prepared to move to Cedar House, on Hamilton’s Cedar Avenue.
The school’s new home will provide twice the space of the school’s former home on the city’s Reid Street. Construction work at the new school is under way thanks to donations.
Lindsey Sirju, one of the school’s cofounders, said she had been surprised by some of the stories she had heard while sourcing fixtures and fittings for Cedar House.
She explained: “You make connections with someone because you’re looking for flooring or you’re looking for doors.
“They start talking to you and you learn from them that they had a language-based learning difference or someone in their family did. They feel connected to you and they want to help because they have a personal connection.”
Cindy Corday, another BCCL cofounder, said the school had been about “starting a conversation”.
She explained: “It wasn’t just about the 50 or 100 students that we’d hoped to enrol.
“It was about changing the conversation about how children learn differently.”
Ms Corday said that BCCL is the only school in Bermuda that concentrated its enrolment on youngsters with language-based learning problems.
Ms Sirju said the school was created “because there was a need”.
She added: “We saw it first hand, we saw the effect that it had on families. And we wanted to be able to create a space that supported not only the students, but the whole family.”
Ms Sirju said that she did not want BCCL to work in isolation and that the school was for the benefit of all children.
She explained: “So, if a teacher comes in from another school and they see a technique or they see an approach that they think would work in their classroom, they take it back with them and they use it.”
Ms Corday said there were more than 40 families on the school’s waiting list in need of financial aid. She added: “The stories are heart-wrenching; the e-mails, the phone calls.”
Ms Corday said that school was looking for donors to help get pupils who could not otherwise afford it into the classroom.
Ms Sjoberg said her 12-year-old son had become more interested in school in the year-and-a-half he had attended BCCL.
She added that he had benefited from the school’s unconventional approach to education. Ms Sjoberg explained: “He needs to move. The environment is really flexible, you’re not forced to sit in your traditional classroom chair.
“In traditional schooling, he really struggled to sit still.”
Ms Sjoberg added: “There’s nothing as well supported as this school, I find.”
BCCL was founded by Ms Corday, Ms Sirju and Lisa Smart in 2015. The school takes children from the age of seven with learning problems, including dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and auditory processing disorder.
BCCL has 26 students, with one teacher for every five pupils. The new school premises will be able to take more than 50 students.
Ms Corday said the new school would also have enough space for classes from outside specialists like the Reading Clinic, as well as a teaching kitchen.