We are delighted to share that we have secured new COVID-19 Rapid Response funding from UK Aid Direct and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to support kindergarten children to continue with their education.

Ghana recorded its first COVID-19 case on March 12 and all schools were closed from March 16. At the end of August, the Ghana Government announced that kindergarten schools would remain closed until at least January 2021, meaning by then, children would have been out of school for almost 9 months!

To ensure kindergarten children would not be missing out at a critical time in their development Sabre worked closely with district Ghana Education Service offices to jointly develop remote learning content. The concept was to develop pre-recorded stories that integrate literacy, numeracy and creative arts. These stories are broadcast three times a week in local languages, Fante and Akuapem Twi, via local radio and privately owned Community Public Address Systems located in public spaces.

Here’s an overview of some of the radio story sessions and the activities children have been able to take part in at home.

“Ama Adoabea and the Coronavirus”
This story focussed on educating children and other listeners about Coronavirus. It also got children to share their experiences and what they knew about Coronavirus. As an activity at home, children were encouraged to practice hand-washing and to sketch themselves washing their hands.

“I Wonder Why It Gets Dark at Night”
Children learnt about the fact that the sun does not move but rather the earth turns around it, so that the part of the earth that faces the sun is day and the part which faces away from the sun is night. Children could experiment with a torch light to better understand why it gets dark at night. During this session children also took part in a numeracy activity to practice how to break five objects into two groups.

Parents have been using specially created WhatsApp groups to submit the work their children have done and to receive feedback. Teachers have been supporting this process and taking photos of children’s work to submit. Here are just a few examples:

What about parents and carers?

Providing radio lessons for children is only half the story. In order for this to succeed it was essential that parents and carers were also supported to facilitate their children’s learning in their new role as home educators. To this end we also developed weekly parent broadcasts via live radio sessions, which offer parents the opportunity to call in and ask questions, provide feedback and seek additional support. Each district education directorate has established a team to be on the panels for these live sessions and currently there are 17 people (comprising Ghana Education Service officers and kindergarten teachers) who have volunteered to be part of the live radio sessions.

Discussions during the live sessions have been centred on the following topics; how children learn, the brain research on child development and learning, managing children’s behaviour, and encouraging the development of early literacy and numeracy skills at home.

In addition, kindergarten teachers and head teachers have been mobilised to voluntarily contact parents to check on them and their children’s wellbeing, inform them of the kindergarten district radio programme as well as the National Ghana Learning TV programme.

The radio programme is working across 12 districts in the Central, Western and Eastern Regions of Ghana. Since receiving the UK aid funding we have worked with seven radio stations that broadcast across the 12 districts and beyond, and 98 Community Public Address Systems.

Here is some feedback from parents and carers.

Juliana Nsemi, parent, “After the radio lessons, one of my children acts as a narrator and the other as a learner which makes them active always”

Mr Koomson, parent, “My daughter sometimes narrates the story for me to listen to and then afterwards she asks me a question”

Gyeketey, grandparent, “My grandson is able to tell me what he learnt on Thursdays when discussions are ongoing”

Irene Asare, parent, “The radio programme is keeping my children active all the time”

We are delighted with the programmes progress and especially pleased with the high level of investment and engagement we have had from the district Ghana Education Service offices, teachers and head teachers who have been working hard to ensure as many children and parents as possible are supported during this time.