Well, let’s dive in! I’d like to introduce you to our 'superteachers' in Kyaka II refugee settlement, Uganda. These teachers are at the heart of our innovative ‘Cluster Learning Model’, which brings vital early years education to 4000 of the youngest refugee children living here.
The cluster groups provide small group lessons, close to the homes of children, with trained refugee teachers, who bring learning to life through plenty of play, games and songs, using colourful resources made locally by the community.
Parents are encouraged to be fully involved in their child’s learning and development through the cluster groups and the community themselves manage and coordinate them.
This community ownership is the key to the sustainability of this early years programme, and this is where our superteachers play a vital role.
WHO ARE THE SUPERTEACHERS?
Superteachers is just an affectionate name for our ‘Trainer of Trainers’ (ToTs), who are a group of our more experienced caregivers (what you might know as preschool teachers) recruited and trained by Children on the Edge, from within the communities we support in Kyaka II refugee settlement.
They not only work hard to encourage parents and the community members to get involved and own the running of the cluster group classes but they train the rest of the caregivers (teachers) in the programme, saving the need for external training and all the time and costs that entails. Superteachers ‘train the trainers’, building teams of new caregivers that can deliver high quality early years education to more children.
WHAT DO THEY DO?
This group of committed and trained superteachers are a busy bunch! They mobilise their communities to get involved in the cluster groups, ensuring that parents, caregivers and wider community members are inspired to participate and invest in their success.
As a result of their work, we see more and more community members participating in a variety of activities, including providing and making learning resources, building latrines and shelters, running back to school campaigns, identifying suitable study areas, running parent conferences and hosting community awareness sessions.
Mary Baginyo is a superteacher, or Trainer of Trainers (ToT) in the Byabakoora zone in Kyaka II. She has worked with Children on the Edge since 2019, originally as a ‘resource person’.
Mary is a Congolese refugee, and since starting as a superteacher she has mobilised her community to participate in the cluster groups and send their children to the nearby learning centres. Mary has facilitated training on the importance of Early Childhood Development for people in her community and as a result, they have one of the highest enrollment levels in the Byabakoora area.
WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?
Superteachers are seen as role models and agents of change in their communities. The skills and confidence they get from the intensive training they themselves receive, enables them to mobilise people at all levels.
They provide continuous mentorship and peer learning sessions for teachers in different parts of the refugee settlement, cascading what they have learnt from their intensive training.
This has not only improved the quality of learning, but sped up the process of training. This happens because the superteachers can train their peers in their own languages, making it easier and quicker for trainees to understand new concepts and methods.
I would say the training is much more liked and easily understood since it has been taught by their own people instead of external training providers. The superteachers are playing a crucial role in rapidly up-skilling our teams of caregivers and enhancing the sustainability of the programme.
By training trainers who can then train others, the reach and impact of the early years programme is expanded exponentially:
In short, superteachers are crucial to the sustainability of the programme. They are our face and voice in the community and they are making a remarkable contribution.
Help us train superteachers like Mary, who make sure that the youngest refugee children in Uganda can learn and have fun with trained teachers at cluster lessons near to their homes.
£8 can help educate a child for a month.