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Rwanda, 9 February 2016: Effective learning through a play-based learning approach

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
Laurence with her class in the open space.

By Jung Yuen Park and Kojo Crentsil

KAMONYI DISTRICT, Rwanda, 9 February 2016 – Today is the first day for Vérène Yankurwe at the Nyamiaga pre-primary school. There are 3 classrooms and she is in charge of class 3 for the children of age 6. “As today is our first day, I explained to my students about basic habits like hand washing with soap after using the toilet. Now we are going to play and sing together.”

Vérène is one of over 900 pre-primary teachers who have received training on play-based learning as part of a program to upgrade and strengthen the skills of pre-primary school teachers throughout the country, particularly on early childhood education.

Since 2014, the Ministry of Education, Rwandan Education Board (REB), UNICEF and International Education Exchange (IEE) have organized more than 40 workshops for pre-primary teachers throughout the country. These teachers are responsible for the early childhood education of approximately 30,000 children between the ages of 4 to 6.

Jehovanice, 6 years attends Class 3. Her mother, Francoise, brought her to school today for the first time and tells Vérène, “I like the school because I know my child can learn many things in a fun way. They sing, they draw and they play. The school has good facilities too.”

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
Viviene playing with a house of blocks.

Laurence, the pre-primary teacher of class 2, invites all her class to the roofed play space. She is teaching children counting and naming body parts with the help of a baby doll. “Where are the ears, and how many of them do we have?” asks Laurence. Then all the students raise hands to get a chance to answer. Florence, a 5-year-old girl, steps out and answers the question proudly.

Play builds motivation and engagement in learning. It allows children to be active participants in their education. Learning through play is important in creating high-quality learning environments that prepare children to succeed in school, lead productive lives and contribute to the peace and prosperity of their families and communities.

UNICEF supported the development of the play-based pre-primary curriculum, which was launched in April 2015 in alignment with the new competency-based pre-primary curriculum.

“Pre-primary education is a priority for Rwanda. The results of the teacher trainings in play-based learning is bearing fruit and we are encouraged to continue supporting these initiatives,” said Graham Lang, Interim Chief of Education, UNICEF Rwanda.

 

 
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