May 3, 2017
Tagged: Ruth S. Ammon School of Education, STEP Program

Education Through a Cuban Perspective: Adelphi’s Education and Community Service in Cuba Program


In January of 2016, STEP student Jacqueline Castelli ’16 ventured with classmates for a 10-day study abroad program led by Professors Anne Mungai, Ph.D., and Devin Thornburg, Ph.D., of Adelphi’s Ruth S. Ammon School of Education, with the purpose of investigating the educational system of Cuba. Castelli was eager to observe what positives and negatives could be gleaned from the trip and which elements she could implement in her future classrooms.

She noted that community-driven culture manifested itself in Cuban schools via things such as the plentiful after-school programs, dance performances, and the concentrated efforts for art education. School is mandatory from 1st grade to 9th grade and children are expected to be at school from morning till evening. While they are only two universities in the country, all students are given thorough exposure to sports, music, art, and agriculture. Schooling is free and students who do not wish to continue on to higher education are also given the option of trade school.

Castelli appreciated the opportunity for variety in student experiences but also noted that American students are afforded more autonomy in their choices. Jacqueline, studying Childhood Education, fondly remembers pre-schoolers playing Bingo in both English and Spanish. She appreciated the amount of attention given to students as well as the implementation of many Montessori methods. She notes that some benefits of the American system are physical space of the classrooms, ability to decorate, as well as the implementation of inclusive-classrooms. In Cuba, students with special needs, while given the same exposure to subject material, are instructed in separate schools throughout their education.

Castelli feels the trip expanded her attitude towards classroom instruction and has broadened her understanding of both Cuban and American educational systems. The program, largely centered on the arts, cultivated a strong sense of community and Castelli felt her goal of exposure to various approaches in education was met profoundly by this trip.

About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning.

Adelphi University is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university offering exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training with particular strength in its Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness. Adelphi is dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support student success.

Founded in Brooklyn in 1896, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. Today Adelphi serves nearly 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, and online.

More than 115,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, caring citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.


For further information, please contact:

Ruth S. Ammon School of Education
p – 516.877.4100

Tagged: Ruth S. Ammon School of Education, STEP Program