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Cross-section of graduates at last year’s Graduation Mass. FILE PHOTO

From The Catholic Religious Education Development Institute

Students looking for educational options with a difference will discover something unique in the Catholic Religious Education Development Institute (CREDI) this year. The institution will offer a careful selection of short courses and certificate programmes for the academic year including music education techniques.

CREDI students will also benefit from courses offered through the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF), a distance-learning initiative that supports adult faith.

Several music education short courses will be available to help students gain knowledge of a hybrid of educational methods which could be employed in making a difference in local communities and classrooms.

“One of the things that research continues to do is that it continues to emphasise the positive impact that music wields in aiding student learning in treating with learning disabilities, behavioural disorders and palliative care,” explains La Vaughn De Leon, Head of the Music Department. She adds that the courses are “specifically designed to train and empower persons  willing to make a contribution in any one of those areas”.

A second area of focus in the music offering is geared towards strengthening choirs, ministry groups and parish communities. Each student is assisted in developing a greater appreciation for the art of music ministry and further improving their skills in the areas of liturgy, choir administration and music. Practical instruments include a choice of voice, guitar, steel pan and piano and the training is geared towards persons with limited or no musical experience.

CREDI will also provide Bachelor of Education programmes with specialisations in Early Childhood Care and Education, Educational Leadership and Special Education, as well as a Certificate, Diploma and an Associate Degree in Residential Care (Children and Youth). A Certificate in Effective Communication in Sports will also be offered.

The programme facilitators represent an impressive selection of educators including Dr Bernard Tappin and Christopher Herbert. Making CREDI’s curriculum attractive to the working student are classes that are held on Saturdays.

“I chose CREDI because classes were available on Saturdays for my choice of studies, the Bachelor of Education specialising in Educational Leadership,” explains Elizabeth Hudlin a former student. “It therefore meant I could continue working and pursue my studies.”

The VLCFF will provide students with access to over 100 e-course subjects including Social Justice, Catechism, Scripture and Youth Ministry. Sr Angela Ann Zukowski MHSH, Director of the VLCFF at the University of Dayton has said, “The VLCFF is not simply a programme that is offered. It is an authentic, collaborative way for being Church in the 21st century. The personal and collaborative emphasis is key for our VLCFF team”.

These course offerings are particularly convenient for typical CREDI students who often hold down full-time jobs and who are looking for convenient options which can help them expand their knowledge and spiritual life.

All this is in keeping with CREDI’s holistic approach to education which it has cultivated since its offices opened in 2007. The management prides itself on cultivating a familial atmosphere in its face-to-face classes across its locations in Port of Spain, east and central Trinidad. “A number of the members of staff have become so close to me that it feels at times like I have met an extended family of mine,” says student, Adisa Toussaint.

A large portion of a CREDI education includes spiritual growth as well as educational development; classes involve prayer and worship, and Masses are offered throughout the school term. Each CREDI student also embarks on a journey of self-discovery through Original Pain Therapy.

Additionally, students have access to CREDI’s in-house clinical therapist for support and guidance through difficult moments in their lives. Spirituality is pivotal to the institute’s operations. “My years at CREDI have taken me to another level of learning, growth and maturity,” observes student, Yasmin Zaheeda Wajadali.

CREDI has embraced these principles since the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin instructed the Archdiocese of Port Spain to establish the institute in 1996.  He dreamed of an organisation which focused on “standardising and integrating all existing educational and developmental programmes and activities approved by the archdiocese” and “developing new educational and developmental programmes and activities for all levels of Catholic faithful”.

Archbishop Jason Gordon has been involved with the institute since its inception and continues to work with the team to chart its way forward.

Prospective students who wish to learn more may contact CREDI’s Head Office at 623-2895/625-5765/627-9247 or