In September 2019, the Ghana Education Service (GES) launched a new kindergarten curriculum. Sabre was privileged to be invited by the Ministry of Education to contribute to the development of this new curriculum, and as a result, play-based teaching has now been integrated into the curriculum for kindergarten classrooms in Ghana.
The Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training (FTTT) project, funded by Dubai Cares, trained 72 teachers in the Western Region of Ghana to implement play-based kindergarten teaching. These 72 teachers completed their training in July 2019, positioning them well to begin implementing the new kindergarten curriculum when it was rolled out nationally in September 2019.
Selina Kafui Mensah, a kindergarten teacher at the Naval Base Basic School in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis in the Western Region, is one such teacher who successfully completed her Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training in 2019. Selina quickly noticed that when the new kindergarten curriculum was introduced to her there were many similarities to what she was already doing in her classrooms as a result of her training.
“When the scope of the new standard based curriculum was introduced, I realised it was largely the play-based approach from the FTTT programme and that gave me an upper hand in understanding the new curriculum. I was part of the second cohort of teachers in the Western Region to have received training from Sabre Education on the FTTT programme and I have been working since then as an early childhood teacher, and have found great joy in facilitating young pupils’ lessons using the play-based approach.”
To help teachers in Ghana get to grips with the new curriculum the Ghana Education Service delivered five days of training for all teachers in Ghana in September 2019, and quickly Selina found herself playing a starring role in the training workshop she attended due to her practical knowledge of delivering play-based kindergarten teaching.
“I realised the new curriculum was all about the play-based approach I received from Sabre’s training. My responses during the training to questions and demonstrations on how activities could be done in the classroom were quite revealing and soon the facilitator began to use me as an unofficial co-facilitator to explain some concepts that were a bit challenging for the other teachers, which I did proudly and gallantly, all thanks to Sabre Education.”
Once back in their classrooms, it quickly became clear that the five days of training delivered through the government had not adequately prepared teachers to begin delivering the new curriculum independently. Putting theory into practice was a real challenge for teachers who have had no experience of teaching using play, and a lack of teaching and learning materials to support the implementation of the curriculum created further challenges. Luckily for the schools near to Selina, she was there to help.
“My school is part of a cluster of schools, but the other kindergarten classrooms were not part of the FTTT I received from Sabre Education on the play-based approach. When we came back from the new curriculum training the other teachers rushed to my classroom, asking questions and seeking clarifications on some of the things I already knew and was implementing in my classrooms.
I helped them to properly arrange their classrooms and created print rich and child friendly classrooms. I have supported them to be able to develop their own teaching and learning resources, which have helped to support lesson delivery in their classrooms. I have become a resource person to a lot more teachers, and now they are able to comfortably implement the new curriculum”
The skills and knowledge that Selina gained through the FTTT, and the ability to now use this knowledge to help other teachers, has given Selina a great sense of pride in her job as a kindergarten teacher.
“Initially I was teaching in the primary school when a reclassification was done by the head teacher and I found myself in the kindergarten. I was not happy, so I told myself I would try as much as I can to move out of kindergarten since I felt that it was a demotion. I then joined the FTTT and realised how wrong I was to think kindergarten is not for me. I am now a proud kindergarten teacher.”
It is really exciting to see that the FTTT is not just impacting those teachers that we have directly worked with, and as a result of the training that teachers have received we are starting to see play-based teaching appear in more and more kindergarten classrooms as they share their learning with their colleagues.
The introduction of the new curriculum has increased the recognition in Ghana that more effective training is needed via the government to continue increasing the quality of kindergarten teaching across the country. Sabre is working strategically with the government to ensure that all teachers in Ghana receive training that enables them to effectively deliver play-based kindergarten teaching in their classrooms.