Every child deserves the best start in life and the opportunity to thrive. A child needs to play, both at home and in preschool.
Preschool and early development centres are currently starting up in Rwanda, but teachers and caregivers often don’t have enough training. They don’t know much about the developmental stages of childhood, how to observe children, or the importance of play.
A child’s brain develops rapidly during their early years, and lost opportunities might never be redeemed according to UNICEF. Young children learn naturally through playing. By learning through play, children develop important life skills such as focus and self-control. It helps them to make connections, develops critical thinking, and encourages them to take on new challenges.
It has been three year since we made our demo play course. This demo course was meant to show the importance of using play in early learning. It was also used to look for funding to develop a full course. So far, we haven’t found that funding, but we’re not giving up. We’re still convinced that it is an important course. Our partner in developing this course was Chameleon Resources. They used the course while training pre-primary teachers they work with. Chameleon Resources shared their experience with us, saying, “Teachers showed interest in the course. It was fun to train them with the e-course because the course is designed in a way which is interactive and it is like a game.” As a course developer, it is really nice to hear this.
Chameleon recently carried out a training needs assessment in preschools. They found that teachers know about the existence of the competency-based curriculum which was launched in 2015. It serves to align the education system with national aspirations and to ensure that the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values acquired by Rwandans in school meet the challenges of the 21st century.
The competency-based curriculum is learner-centred. It takes education to higher levels by providing challenging and engaging learning experiences which require deep thinking rather than just memorisation. Teachers and caregivers have to teach according to this curriculum, which is not easy for them. Chameleon Resources realised that teachers are struggling to make daily schedules and weekly plans. To fill the gap, Chameleon decided to train pre-primary teachers on how to build a weekly lesson plan around a theme. This involved finding games to play and activities to do with the children that were related to that theme. The topic of insects was chosen as a demonstration theme.
Chameleon Resources is looking to partner with us again, and we are very ready to work with them. We love insects! Would you like to participate in the development of this course? Please feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the draft course is ready, we will send it to you so that you can comment on it. We hope to make a fun course which will help preschools to bridge the learning gap.