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Rwanda, 11 August 2016: Promoting continuity of education beginning from pre-primary education

By Jung Yuen Park

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
Children enjoy drawing animals.

Nyarugenge district, Kigali City, Rwanda, 11 August 2016 – Today, in the pre-primary class three at the Kanyinya Child-Friendly School (CHS) in Nyarugenge district, 5-6 years old children are drawing animals. Cows, chickens and pigs are most common. “Children like drawing and singing. I try to use singing and drawing sessions for children’s attention and to engage them while learning topics,” says Sophia Nzayisenga, the classroom teacher. Every week there is a new theme and all the activities are prepared around this theme by using songs, books and other materials.

“Where do we get eggs?” asks Sophia. “From chicken,” the children answer. “Where do we get milk?” asks Sophia. “From cows,” the children answer. “What sound does a chicken make and how does a cow speak?” Sophia continues asking questions and the children answer by imitating the sounds of the animals “kokokoko” and “bahh bahh” followed by laughter.

After the children sing together with Sophia an animal song in Kinyarwanda which says, “dear cow, you are my friend, you give me milk. When I drink milk, I become happy. Dear chicken, you are my friend. You give me eggs. When I eat eggs, I become happy.”

Sophia has two children with learning disabilities in her class. She says it is important to engage all children in the lesson, including children with disability. “Those with learning disability often start with their own activity, but I try not to interrupt. I observe them closely to check from time to time if they are working on the same topic or not, so that they can follow the class any time. Their parents visit us and we discuss together how best we can help them.”

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
Sophia in her classroom interacting with children.

Sophia keeps in touch with the children even after they move from pre-primary to primary classes. “Keza was in my class, she is now attending Primary four. I remember her well as she was one of the good students. She also used to come early in the morning and helped me in preparing the classroom. I know that she is getting good grades in her class and I am happy for her. There was a boy who used to throw stones at cars on the street and used to get into small fights with his friends in the classroom. I tried to help and calm him and now he has good relationship with his friends. He is attending Primary two and is studying well. I am proud of both of them.” Sophia shares her stories with her students.

“Pre-primary education is important in the new competency-based curriculum. The new curriculum helps us see the continuity of education through the primary education starting from pre-primary,” says Ezra Mugabe, School-based Mentor at Kanyinya CFS assisting Sophia and other teachers by preparing teaching materials in line with the new competency-based curriculum.

UNICEF supported the development of the play-based pre-primary curriculum which was launched in April 2015 in alignment with the new competency-based curriculum developed for all grades in the basic education cycle: from pre-primary to upper secondary. UNICEF has supported the construction of the pre-primary facility in Kanyinya CFS. This pre-primary model has been approved by the government and at the request of the Ministry of Education, the pre-primary school project is being rolled out with plans for the establishment of model pre-primary schools in all districts. The model includes a school with three classrooms, water and sanitation facilities, hand washing stations and fences, providing age appropriate furniture, play-based learning and outdoor equipment.



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