Last week, as part of our partnership with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), Dr Sharon Wolf, a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at New York University (NYU), and Maham Farhat, a Research Manager at IPA, came to visit some of the kindergartens in the Western Region on the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training (FTTT) Programme. They were excited to see with their own eyes all that they had heard about the programme and the amazing work happening in the classrooms.

To get a full idea of the transformation that is happening in the FTTT classrooms, they began their day at two kindergartens that are not yet part of the programme. This was followed by a visit to the FTTT schools which have been hosting model practice classrooms.

IPA’s interest in the FTTT classrooms results from the planned collaboration with Sabre on an independent impact evaluation of the programme, which will look specifically at how the student teachers from the College of Education get on as Newly Qualified Teachers in their own classrooms. This impact evaluation will rigorously test if the FTTT programme training has a positive and lasting impact on the classroom practice of teachers that have participated in the FTTT. Prior to this visit, NYU and IPA were responsible for randomly selecting which student teachers were allocated to FTTT kindergartens and which to non-FTTT kindergartens. This random allocation of student teachers to the programme is a part of the rigorous evaluation design which aims to uncover FTTT’s impact on teaching.

One major thing that our visitors noticed about the student teachers in the FTTT classrooms was their confidence and competence in facilitating children’s activities at table tops and learning centres in the classrooms and at the outside activity areas, without needing to be overseen by the teachers. The classrooms amazed them due to their child-friendliness, their abundance of attractive resources and their efficient organisation of a variety of activities for the children. One of our favourite pieces of feedback was that they both told us they wished that they had received the same kindergarten experience when they were four and five.

After their school visits, they met with the Principal of Holy Child College of Education, Margaret Lemaire, and had a tour of the almost completed Centre of Excellence on the College grounds. The tour ended with a promise to return to see it brimming with children in the not too distant future.