Historically, the approach to teaching in early childhood education in Ghana has been teacher-centred, with a focus on rote memorization and repetition. This traditional method often neglects the importance of active engagement, critical thinking, and holistic development of young learners.
As a result, the learning outcomes of children in early childhood education have been limited, with a focus on basic literacy and numeracy skills rather than fostering creativity, problem-solving abilities, and social-emotional development.
However, recent efforts have been made to shift towards a more child-centred approach that recognizes the unique needs and abilities of young learners. This approach emphasises play-based learning, interactive teaching methods, and creating a stimulating environment that supports holistic development. By embracing child-centred pedagogy, early childhood education in Ghana aims to enhance learning outcomes and prepare children for future academic success.
AFRIKIDS’ EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT IN BUILSA SOUTH
AfriKids, a prominent child’s rights organisation based in Pwalugu, a community within the Talensi District of the Upper East Region, is at the forefront of efforts to revolutionise teaching and learning practices towards a more child-centred approach. Their groundbreaking initiative, the Early Childhood Development project, was launched approximately a year and a half ago in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region, with the Fumbisi Old Primary School serving as the focal point for its implementation.
At the heart of this transformative project is the Early Childhood Centre at the Fumbisi Old Primary School, where young pupils embark on a journey of discovery and growth. As they arrive at school each day, one of the fundamental activities they engage in is self-registration. Departing from the traditional method of having learners respond with a respectful “Yes Sir” or “Yes Madam” to their names, the self-registration system empowers pupils to select their own name cards from a collection and match them to corresponding pockets sewn onto a vibrant mat displayed on the wall. This innovative approach serves a dual purpose, enabling learners to not only identify their names and enhance their spelling skills but also to develop a basic understanding of colours through the visual cues provided.
Through initiatives like the Early Childhood Development project, AfriKids is revolutionising early education by placing children at the centre of their own learning journey. By fostering independence, self-discovery, and interactive learning experiences, AfriKids is shaping a future where Ghanaian children are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in an ever-evolving world.
Embarking on a journey to redefine early childhood education, the classroom has undergone a remarkable transformation with the introduction of vibrant and engaging learning centres. These centres, namely the Book Centre, Shopping Centre, Home Centre, and Construction Centre, offer a dynamic and immersive learning experience for young learners.
In the enchanting Book Centre, children are encouraged to explore a carefully arranged cabinet filled with captivating books. Through the joys of reading, AfriKids aspires to instil a love for books and cultivate impeccable spelling skills among the children.
Stepping into the ambience of the Shopping Centre, a miniature replica of a bustling convenience store, learners are introduced to essential items typically found in such shops. Engaging in simulations of buying and selling, these young minds swiftly grasp fundamental mathematical concepts, such as addition and subtraction.
The Home Centre serves as a gateway for learners to interact with everyday household items and discover their purpose and utility. This immersive experience acquaints children with the practical aspects of home life, enabling them to develop essential life skills.
At the Construction Centre, a realm of imagination unfolds. Children are encouraged to explore materials like clay, wood, and even safe electrical components unrelated to the national grid. Here, young learners are given the freedom to unleash their creativity and express their innovative ideas.
Through these captivating learning centres, AfriKids has revolutionised early childhood education, empowering children to actively engage in their own learning process. By providing stimulating and interactive environments, AfriKids nurtures young minds, fostering a generation of curious, confident, and imaginative learners ready to shape a bright future.
SUCCESSES CHALKED AT FUMBISI OLD PRIMARY SCHOOL
Angela Adumpo, the Headmistress of the Fumbisi Old Primary School, has been full of praise for AfriKids, for the innovation that has helped better learning outcomes.
“The programme has been of great benefit in the sense that there is a lot of improvement in our teaching and because there is improvement in our teaching, the pupils that come to school learn. As a result of their learning, there are better outcomes. Children always come to school because teaching is now fun. Through the training they took us through, teachers gradually picked up and take the students through fun activities. Because of this, teaching is now fun,” she said.
Despite the immense success of the Early Childhood Development Project by AfriKids, there is more that could be done, Madam Adumpo, the headmistress of the school, explained.
“AfriKids has supported us with teaching and learning materials, but they are not enough. Another challenge is that our furniture is inadequate,” she said.
When A1 Radio’s Mark Smith spoke to Valeria Abakisi, the Acting Builsa South District Director of AfrKids, she explained that the Early Childhood Development project was part of the major thematic areas in which AfriKids works.
“With the Early Childhood Development project, teachers are taken through capacity building training to help them prepare TLMS, Jolly Phonics, and others. When these teachers go back to their schools, they replicate whatever they have learnt from the training. The children now understand what they learn in school,” she said.
THE NEWS AFRIKIDS STRATEGY; 1 MILLION SMILES
Over the next five years, AfriKids aims to expand its projects, working towards empowering impoverished rural communities to safeguard their children’s rights. The organisation will prioritise districts in northern Ghana that face significant challenges in ensuring the health, safety, and education of their children, focusing on areas where they can make the most impactful difference. Collaborating with each new district for a five-year duration, AfriKids will implement a comprehensive and cost-effective program, combining their expertise with locally-specific challenges and opportunities for positive change.
The progress of these programs will be carefully monitored and documented to assess their impact on improving education, child protection, and healthcare in a sustainable manner. The data collected will serve as the basis for generating case studies and evidence to influence others, sharing successful interventions that address the pressing and intricate issues faced by Ghana’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children. Through this approach, AfriKids aspires to reach a larger number of children by informing public policy, resource allocation decisions, and facilitating the replication of their successful models, ultimately accelerating Ghana’s progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and establishing itself as a champion for child rights.
To realise this ambitious plan, AfriKids will enhance its organisational capacity through a series of development projects, including the strategic utilisation of technology and the expansion of partnerships and collaborations with other entities. By 2025, AfriKids envisions itself as a formidable advocate for the rights of Ghana’s children, a significant player in the country’s development landscape, and a strong proponent of child rights and the Sustainable Development Goals. As a result of their collective efforts, alongside other stakeholders, hundreds of thousands of lives will be improved, and Ghana will move closer to becoming a shining example of child rights and well-being.
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana