Building Strong Learning Foundations & Promoting Smooth Transitions btwn ECD & Primary Schools along Lake Victoria Basin

The project focuses on building strong learning foundations and promoting transitions between ECD and primary schools so as to improve education achievement of children and build basic foundations for lifelong learning. The big idea is to provide field based support to caregivers, teachers, parents and pupils to improve classroom practices as well as teaching and learning processes for ECD and lower primary grades. In this CRC will seek to target lower primary grades (1-4) through three main interventions (i) establishing ECD/basic education resource center for the district (ii) refreshing ECD and lower grade teachers on new reading and participatory teaching techniques (iii) work closely with teachers, parents and local groups to develop low-cost community-own teaching, learning and play materials for ECD centers (iv) mobilizing from publishers and other actors and supplying primary schools with supplementary reading materials and (v) establishing and supporting young readers clubs in local primary schools. These will improve the quality of early childhood development and learning environments in the early grades (first to fourth) of primary education in Bondo and Rarieda Districts of Nyanza Province, Kenya. Working in 5 locations (2 in Rarieda and 3 in Bondo), CRC has started training ECD/lower grade teachers and support improvement of ECD centers and primary schools to meet basic standards necessary for assuring quality teaching and learning environments. The engagement of parents and facilitation of transitions from ECD centers to primary schools are also be key elements of this project.   

About You

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Location

Project Street Address

Bondo Town – off Nyakasumbi Road, behind Switel Hotel

Project City

Bondo

Project Province/State

Nyanza Province

Project Postal/Zip Code

40601

Project Country

Kenya

Your idea

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Country your work focuses on:

Kenya

Website URL

What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1-5 years

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What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

<$50

Name Your Project

Building Strong Learning Foundations & Promoting Smooth Transitions btwn ECD & Primary Schools along Lake Victoria Basin

Describe Your Idea

The project focuses on building strong learning foundations and promoting transitions between ECD and primary schools so as to improve education achievement of children and build basic foundations for lifelong learning. The big idea is to provide field based support to caregivers, teachers, parents and pupils to improve classroom practices as well as teaching and learning processes for ECD and lower primary grades. In this CRC will seek to target lower primary grades (1-4) through three main interventions (i) establishing ECD/basic education resource center for the district (ii) refreshing ECD and lower grade teachers on new reading and participatory teaching techniques (iii) work closely with teachers, parents and local groups to develop low-cost community-own teaching, learning and play materials for ECD centers (iv) mobilizing from publishers and other actors and supplying primary schools with supplementary reading materials and (v) establishing and supporting young readers clubs in local primary schools. These will improve the quality of early childhood development and learning environments in the early grades (first to fourth) of primary education in Bondo and Rarieda Districts of Nyanza Province, Kenya. Working in 5 locations (2 in Rarieda and 3 in Bondo), CRC has started training ECD/lower grade teachers and support improvement of ECD centers and primary schools to meet basic standards necessary for assuring quality teaching and learning environments. The engagement of parents and facilitation of transitions from ECD centers to primary schools are also be key elements of this project.   

Innovation

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Describe your idea in fewer than 50 words.

The project focuses on building strong learning foundations and promoting transitions between ECD and primary schools so as to improve education achievement of children and build basic foundations for lifelong learning. The big idea is to provide field based support to caregivers, teachers, parents and pupils to improve classroom practices as well as teaching and learning processes for ECD and lower primary grades. In this CRC will seek to target lower primary grades (1-4) through three main interventions (i) establishing ECD/basic education resource center for the district (ii) refreshing ECD and lower grade teachers on new reading and participatory teaching techniques (iii) work closely with teachers, parents and local groups to develop low-cost community-own teaching, learning and play materials for ECD centers (iv) mobilizing from publishers and other actors and supplying primary schools with supplementary reading materials and (v) establishing and supporting young readers clubs in local primary schools. These will improve the quality of early childhood development and learning environments in the early grades (first to fourth) of primary education in Bondo and Rarieda Districts of Nyanza Province, Kenya. Working in 5 locations (2 in Rarieda and 3 in Bondo), CRC has started training ECD/lower grade teachers and support improvement of ECD centers and primary schools to meet basic standards necessary for assuring quality teaching and learning environments. The engagement of parents and facilitation of transitions from ECD centers to primary schools are also be key elements of this project.

What makes your idea unique?

Because it seeks to build strong learning foundations and promote smooth transitions between ECD and primary schools among Lake Victoria basin communities in Nyanza, a region where education quality and standards have continued to go down over the years. Evidence show that children who build learning foundations early on, between pre-school and the early grades, are more likely to stay in school, learn well, achieve good learning outcomes and transition to higher levels. This is what we want to help local schools and their children achieve. During this critical period children need to build foundational skills such as reading, writing, and math, which they will use to progressively build knowledge in various subject areas, think critically, solve problems; which in turn will prepare them to make informed decisions in problem solving and tackling issues central to their lives, and build self-confidence and resilience for life long learning. It builds a unique but strong linkage between ECD and primary education.

What is your area of work? (Please check as many as apply.)

Child labor , Early childhood development , Education , HIV/AIDS .

What impact have you had?

Since inception, 2 years ago CRC has been involved in two main activities as part of this Project of Building Strong Learning Foundations and Promoting Smooth Transitions between ECD and Primary Schools along Lake Victoria Basin in Kenya. (i) Running low-cost model ECD center; - CRC operates a model center for learning, training and demonstrations in Bondo town. This is a child friendly center offering holistic approach to ECD services. The center also serves as training facility for teachers, facilitators, caregivers, parents and other actors on matters ECD. CRC aims to make this center child friendly, well equipped with stimulating environments which have a lot of influence on teaching/learning processes effective for child development. The Center intends to work with teachers, parents and local groups to develop low-cost community-own teaching, learning and play materials or resources for ECD. Currently the center has up to 40 children aged between 2 and 5 years. (ii) Training of ECD teachers, facilitators and care givers; - CRC in collaboration with Bondo and Rarieda District Centers for Early Childhood Education (DICECEs) and Bondo Teachers Training College, has been running a school based in-service (refresher) training programme for ECD teachers and caregivers since December 2008. The trainings are practice oriented and school-based, organized in various modules and delivered in April, August and December (regular school holidays). The first session of such trainings was launched for Bondo district in December, 2008 and brought together 20 teachers/caregivers. And the second workshop was held in April, 2009 at the Center in Bondo town with around 35 participants (teachers & caregivers). Between the two workshops trainers have been able make follow up school or center visits to all the trainees.

Describe the primary problem(s) that your project is addressing.

Unfortunately many children along Lake Victoria basin, don’t build learning foundations in the early grades as they enter first grade poorly prepared (mentally, physically, emotionally) to learn, and schools fail to provide them the environments conducive to learning. ECD or preschool opportunities in the two selected districts are limited and usually of poor quality. Early grades in this part of Nyanza province are usually overcrowded with no teachers and where they have teachers, they are not well trained to teach reading, writing and math. Reading is a key learning foundation that children must build early. Reading skills predict success in school. In Kenya children are expected to be able to read well by third grade so they are prepared to learn subject matter that differentiates progressively from grade four. Very few children make that threshold, and the problem is worse along the Lake Victoria basin. Teacher skills & capacity, teacher-centered methodologies, classroom leadership and management styles, poor reading culture, and weak transition linkages are some of the issues or problems we are seeking to address.

Describe the steps that your organization is taking to make your project successful.

For the project to succeed CRC is undertaking of seeking to undertake the following activities;

Training of ECD facilitators/care givers and lower grade teachers; - CRC in collaboration with Bondo and Rarieda Districts Centers for Early Childhood Education (DICECEs), Bondo District Hospital and Bondo Teachers Training College, has been running a school based in-service (refresher) training programme for ECD teachers and caregivers since December 2008. The trainings are practice oriented and school-based, organized in various modules and delivered in April, August and December (regular school holidays). Between workshops held at CRC, trainers make follow up visits to all the trainees in their schools or centers for assessments, coaching, mentoring and observation of classroom practices. This training will be expanded to include lower grade teachers with focus on reading and participatory teaching techniques.

Development and supply of low-cost teaching/learning and play materials for ECD centers; - CRC will be working very closely with DICECE officers, teachers, caregivers, parents and local groups to develop low-cost community-own teaching, learning and play materials for ECD centers. In particular, caregivers, teachers and parents will be trained on material development for ECD. After the trainings, the groups will be supported to source local materials within their communities and make teaching, learning and play materials. Successful groups or centers will be encouraged to make additional materials for sale to other centers and schools in their areas. There will be a refreshing course or workshop once every term for the groups selected lead material development activities in their centers and schools.

Supplying selected primary schools with supplementary reading materials; - reading is very important when it comes to building strong learning foundations, improving learning achievement and learning outcomes and preparing young children in ECD centers and lower grades for lifelong learning. In order to help children acquire reading skills and to promote reading culture in schools, CRC will work in collaboration with DICECE and the district education office to identify supplementary reading materials fit for children between age 4 and 9. After the identification, then CRC will reach out to publishers to donate supplementary readers to be distributed to schools. A few important tittles which may not be donated will be bought from the project funds.

Establishing and supporting young readers clubs in local primary schools; - sometimes books are in schools, but children don’t have sufficient motivation to read them. For this reason, CRC will seek to establish and support young readers clubs in the 5 targeted primary schools during the project period. The clubs will be restricted to pupils in grade 1 to 4. However, those in upper grades will be encouraged to form their own reading clubs. The clubs will be expected to encourage borrowing and reading of books, ensure safety and care of the reading materials among other functions. Each club will have one teacher serving as a patron or matron. The project will have schemes to organize competitions and give awards to best readers in each school term. Between the five participating schools, CRC will organize inter-school reading competitions, once every term.

Establishing a one stop resource center for basic education materials; - as part of this project CRC will be working towards establishing a resource center on child rights with focus on ECD and primary education reading and reference materials for pupils, teachers, parents and school managers.

Impact

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What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Success in Year 1:

Up to 40 children of pre-school age are already benefiting from ECD services run at a model CRC ECD center in Bondo town. And up to 35 teachers are already undertaking field based refresher trainings at CRC. This batch will be certified after the third workshop in August 2009.

Success in Year 2:

More ECD teachers and caregivers are expected to join the programme. Between 30 and 40 new teachers and care givers. This training will be expanded to include lower grade teachers with focus on reading and participatory teaching techniques. At least 20 lower grade teachers will be enrolled for trainings and support this year. Reading Clubs will be started in selected primary schools, and participating schools supplied with supplementary reading materials. ECD play and learning materials will also be developed.

Success in Year 3:

CRC resource center will be fully operational with much focus on ECD and primary education materials. Possibly internet services will also be installed to increase access to net resources. The other activities on teacher and caregiver training, material development, school clubs and supply of supplementary readers will also continue.

Do you have a business plan or strategic plan? (yes/no)

Yes – we have a strategy paper for the next three years – 2009-2011.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 1:

Scaling up teacher and caregiver training for ECD and primary schools and promoting development of teaching, learning, stimulation and play materials.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 2:

Establishing young readers clubs in local primary schools and sourcing supplementary readers for local schools.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 3:

Establishing the one stop resource center for ECD and primary education.

Describe the expected results of these actions.

This project seeks to improve the quality of ECD programs serving children in age group 3 to 7 so they enter primary school with sufficient learning readiness, as well as the quality of teaching and learning in first to third grades in selected primary schools. Through this CRC will also link ECD centers and primary schools to facilitate smooth transition. The project will improve skills, competencies and capacities of lower grade teachers and ECD caregivers so that they can improve quality of basic education at those two levels. Through the resource center and supply of materials availability of reading materials is expected to increase for caregivers, teachers children in grade 1 to 4 there by helping to build a strong reading culture leading strong reading foundations. Reading clubs will instill the spirit of competition and knowledge building among learners and this will not help in reducing wastage through drop outs and promoting learning achievements. Transitions between ECD centers and primary schools will eventually be improved since this project intends to make children ready for school and schools ready for children.

What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Incidences of low learning achievement, reading inabilities among children, fewer nursery schools or limited ECD opportunities, poor classroom practices, bad teaching methods, falling education standards, increased drop out rates and increasing number of children out of school along Lake Victoria basin.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

The innovators behind this idea are two practicing teachers in Bondo and Rarieda districts: Mrs. Mildren lango’ who is a tutor (lecturer) of language and math at Bondo Teachers Training College. She is also a member of the Child Rights Center and the lead trainer for the ongoing CRC teacher/caregiver field based training programme. Mrs. Lango’ holds a masters degree in teacher education and has close to ten years experience in teacher training and curriculum development across Kenya. The second innovator, is a high school teacher, Mr. Adeny Muga currently a graduate teacher at Kitambo Secondary School in Rarieda district and Secretary to CRC. Mr. Adeny has over 6 years teaching experience having started his career as a primary school teacher in Bondo. He holds a bachelor’s degree in teacher education and also doubles as a strong activist and campaigner for education improvement and reforms in Bondo and Rarieda districts. The two teamed up with other local players to start CRC in 2007.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

From Elimu Yetu Coalition – a network of civil society groups working on education for all (EFA) and which is based in Nairobi. We are members of Elimu Yetu.

This Entry is about (Issues)

Sustainability

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What would prevent your project from being a success?

If we don’t get adequate funding needed to carry out the activities and shore up our on going efforts.

Financing source

yes

If yes, provide organization name.

Child Rights Center – CRC – was established in 2007, and operates as a community based organization (CBO) in Bondo, Siaya and Rarieda districts with its secretariat in Bondo town (off Nyakasumbi road). CRC aims to provide children and young people alongside their families and communities with practical tools to drive positive change around their lives within communities where they live. In terms of age our main interest is age groups 0 to 14 years (children) and 15 to 25 years (youth). CRC vision is a lake basin or region in which all children have unhindered access to their basic rights and in which they enjoy all opportunities to develop their full potential.

How long has this organization been operating? (i.e. less than a year; 1-5 years; more than 5 years)

For close to 2 years now – since early 2007.

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes CRC has an Executive Board composed of 9 members with strong human rights and community development background (7 registered officials, the patron and one co-opted member). The board’s key role will be policy formulation & enforcement, resource mobilization and oversight in programme implementation. The board meets once every month. The Board runs its activities through Management Committees e.g. ECD management committee, basic education management committee etc from time to time to oversee and coordinate implementation of various projects and activities. All committees report to the Board.

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs? (yes/no)

Yes we have technical and informal cooperation arrangements with Plan, CCF, Elimu Yetu Coalition, Ujamaa, CIAG, Bondo Social Forum and Daraja.

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses? (yes/no)

Not at the moment; though we are considering this.

The Story

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Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government? (yes/no)

Yes; we are cooperating or working very closely with Bondo TTC, Bondo District Hospital, Bondo Children’s Department and District Centers for Early Childhood Education in both Bondo and Rarieda districts.

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

When working with schools and teachers, we need to cooperate closely with relevant government departments and agencies. Our current relationship with DICECE’s will make it fairly easy for us to establish working partnerships with the District Education Offices (DEOs). When training both ECD and lower grade teachers we have to work with DICECEs and DEOs. Apart from ensuring that what we do falls within Government policy and curriculum requirements, the DICECEs and the DEOs will also bring on board their experiences to enrich the initiatives, in addition to helping in identifying and mobilizing teachers. Training teachers requires special expertise and that is why we will continue working with tutors or lecturers from Bondo TTC, along side other government and non government agencies. We also hope that good practices will picked by MoE officials to inform local public policy and practice. The TTC should also use any good experiences for this project improvement their teacher training strategy and curriculum. These partnerships, alongside the ones we are trying to forge with other agencies and individuals will contribute a great deal to our sustainability strategy to make these efforts renewing and self sustaining.

How many people will your project serve annually?

100-1000

What is your organization's business classification?

Non-profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

What is the total number of employees and total number of volunteers at your organization?

CRC has a Secretariat based in Bondo town charged with the day to day running of the organization’s activities. Currently the secretariat consists of one full time Community Development Assistant (CDA), two ECD facilitators, one caregiver and one volunteer.

Have you received funding from any of the following groups? (Please check as many as apply.)

None of the above.

271 weeks ago Naveen Shakir said: On July 28, 2009 the judges reviewed the entries for the Changemakers “Champions of Quality Education in Africa” competition ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
283 weeks ago SAMUEL OMODING said: You did not clarify what ECD means at the beginning. Now I know it stands for Early Childhood Development. The idea is okay but how ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
286 weeks ago Yuting Lien updated this Competition Entry.
286 weeks ago Yuting Lien updated this Competition Entry.
286 weeks ago Adeny George Muga submitted this idea.