The doors of Loco Early Childhood Development Centre opened on the 26th September and just over a month later, the children here have already come on in leaps and bounds.
Edwin Wanabe, Programme Director at COTE Africa says ‘The children are very willing to learn and so friendly to the staff. They are interacting well during playing and enjoying themselves. At first they were upset to be left by their parents in the morning, but now they wake up their parents early in the morning to make sure they arrive on time to school!”
These children are from an extremely vulnerable community, they are very young and have never been to school before. This presented some challenges in the first few weeks for the teachers. Naturally at this stage, the children behaved fairly chaotically and found it hard to concentrate.
The main way the staff have tackled this is by singing songs, as they really help to motivate and focus the children in a fun way. Whether these are songs that are saying ‘well done’ to a classmate for writing a word for the first time, or songs that help in quieting down the class before a meal time, there is a rhyme for most things and the children love them.
The language differences have also been a barrier, so in the first few weeks the teachers used a lot of gestures and soon communication began to flow. The teachers have also been helping the children to improve table manners and teaching them how to use the toilets in a hygienic way.
Doreen, the headteacher at the Centre says ’At first the children would be destructive with the pencils and books, they didn’t really know what to do with them or how to behave, but the teachers helped them to understand, and kept an eye on everyone while teaching, now they look after the materials’
What difference a month makes
In this short time the children have developed a real sense of belonging and are looking after their school books and equipment very responsibly for such a young age. They have become comfortable with sharing these things as well. They have also been learning about reporting whenever they feel unsafe, either at school or within their community. They have learned to ask for things politely and have developed their numbers, reading, writing and singing a great amount.
Edwin describes how “We can tell the children are greatly enjoying lessons because we often hear them imitating the teachers and telling their parents how much the teachers care about them. They are always reciting the rhymes at home, practicing their reading sounds and reporting what they ate at breaktime. We hope this brings a smile to your face!”