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More bursaries for Early Childhood Education students

By Renée Rodgers

The Early Childhood Education Program at Loyalist College has received a donation of $100,000.

The Quinte Early Childhood Education Resource Centre made the donation so bursaries could be provided to selected students in the program.

Dianne Spencer, executive director of college advancement and external relations, said the Ontario government would match the donation as part of an education funding initiative.

The entire sum of money will be invested, she explained. Interest collected will be awarded annually to selected ECE students. Because bursary money will be generated from interest alone, the award will be in place for students indefinitely.

“These awards will be available for students not only in the coming year but throughout the future,” Spencer said. “It’s a marvelous, marvelous support they’ve provided for our students.”

Spencer said the college is excited to receive the donation.

“It’s a wonderful gift,” she said. “It means a lot to individual students and it certainly means a lot to the program and to the college.”

This is not the first time the centre has donated money to the college, Spencer said. In fact, the organization has been providing money to the ECE program at Loyalist for quite some time.

“During the past 11 years, they’ve provided awards totaling about $34,000,” she said. “They’ve certainly been strong supporters of the college and of ECE students at Loyalist College.”

Pam Belli, an ECE faculty member who teaches a variety of courses, said bursaries will hopefully enable students to work less at part-time jobs and put more focus on their studies.

“Being a student is a full-time job and you really see the emotional strain and the physical strain on people who try to be a full-time student plus work,” she said.

Being focused on schooling is especially important for ECE students, said Belli.

“To work with children is very demanding,” she said. “The studies are demanding. Students need to have the time outside of classes to read and work on their assignments so that when they’re with children, they’re well-rested, energetic and not stressed.”

Belli said the bursaries will be fantastic for students in the program.

In a news release, Loyalist College President Maureen Piercy thanked members of the organization for their donation during their visit to the college.

“The substantial contribution to create a permanent endowed fund,” she said, “has truly cemented the group’s position as an ardent supporter of early childhood education, and a friend of Loyalist College.”