• Stefan Amali

Ashleigh Chabrol : An Energetic Educator

Thoughtfulness doesn’t come naturally to everybody and it would be naïve not to acknowledge that. For those people it comes naturally to, it's joy unconfined to be in their presence and Ashleigh Chabrol is definitely one of those people. It almost seems surreal that her most endearing qualities as a human being align perfectly with her professional decision to become an early childhood educator. Ashleigh attended Erdiston Teacher's Training College where she completed level 1 & 2 courses in early childhood education.

I don’t necessarily recall a specific moment when I decided I wanted to teach. It’s something I gravitated towards because I’ve always had a natural fondness for children. It wasn’t hard for me to figure out that I wanted to teach, so when the time came to choose a career path this was a no brainer”

In her social circle, ‘Ash’ plays an interesting role. Often referred to as “Mama Chabrol’ or ‘Grandma Ash’, many of her friends look to her as a pillar of stability and wisdom. She has a keen sense of responsibility in every aspect of her life, and her self-assuredness enables her to care for others in a detailed way. Seeing that Barbados is in lockdown right now, schools are closed and teachers like Ashleigh are forced to momentarily reminisce the joys of face-to-face interaction.

Honestly, I miss the social interaction with my students & workmates. I miss the different personalities, getting creative but mostly their smiling faces as they walk through the gate shouting “Good morning aunty Ashleigh”. The kind gesture of picking flowers for me, from their garden before leaving for school or surprising me with yummy cookies they baked with their parents over the weekend.”

The maturity that Ashleigh possesses is far beyond her years, and in many ways stems from the privilege of having older sisters. Family is everything to Chabrol! It’s the loving and nurturing environment that she was raised in, that has equipped her with the capacity to be so effortlessly compassionate towards the children she teaches. She was unequivocal about articulating how much family time meant to her stating that: “I LOVE family time; island drives, games/ movie nights or simply just being together. I’m definitely a big family person!”

The compassion side of an educator is equally as important as their stern, disciplinarian side. As charismatic as Ashleigh is, she is a stickler for order and structure. Once again she credits family for the values inculcated in her and she expressed that: “Punctuality and discipline have definitely always been a fundamental part of my life growing up.

All educators are important to the development of society, but early childhood educators play an integral role. The early years of a child’s life are critical to the formation of their mental strength and reasoning ability. Children’s minds are extremely malleable at this stage, therefore it’s important that their educational environment is a loving and affirming one. In these challenging times, Ashleigh called for unity among her colleagues in education: “This is an unprecedented climate we are currently living in. Educators and child care providers, including myself, are doing the best we can, with what we can. We as teachers should continue to help each other, in sharing useful strategies and techniques for online learning.”

From the classroom right back to 2nd Street, Ashleigh retains an air of class and sophistication in everything she does. She appreciates the value of appropriateness and she is always committed to allocating enough time to rest and recharge. It’s no secret how much ‘ Ash’ loves a good nap or a quiet Sunday afternoon on the Folkstone beach (in front of The Sandpiper hotel).

In closing, Ashleighlight-heartedly expressed that “There’s nothing like a good glass of wine and a good conversation with my high school besties or my sisters at home or at the beach. It’s always fun to kick a good night vibe with my girlfriends, whether it’s a night at the club, a food run because we definitely love to eat, or giggling & sharing stories at a girl’s night.”

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