September marked the start of a new academic year and the return to schools for children after what has been a very challenging time for families across the world.
For young children in Ghana the school year has not re-started and current government guidelines state that kindergarten schools will remain closed until at least January 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kindergarten children have been out of school since the 16th March 2020 and parents have had to assume a new role as educator. Sabre has therefore expanded its focus from training teachers to helping children continue their education whilst at home.
We launched the Sing, Say, Shine radio programme on the 8th June, in partnership with the Ghana Education Service, kindergarten teachers and head teachers, which will complement the Ghana Education Service’s national Ghana Learning TV & Radio Programme. We have chosen to use local radio and community public address systems as many households in the communities we work with do not have a television and many also do not have access to a radio, so the community address system can reach everyone. These broadcast channels have also enabled us to produce content in local languages which makes instruction for kindergarten children easier and is more accessible for parents who do not speak English. We are currently broadcasting across three regions using seven local radio stations and 77 community public address systems.
“I am happy my children are engaged in radio lessons. My children always make sure they listen to the program and have consistently done tasks assigned to them every week which makes it very engaging like school days” Parent, Afram Plains.
For children we developed and pre-recorded story based sessions which incorporate literacy, numeracy and creative arts activities. Some of the stories shared include:
“Ama Adoabea and the Coronavirus”
The story focussed on educating children and other listeners about coronavirus. It also got children to share their experiences and what they knew about the deadly coronavirus. As an activity at home, children were encouraged to practice hand-washing and to sketch themselves washing their hands.
“We Love Our Planet Earth”
This session explained the need to be concerned for the environment and how children can help keep the environment clean. Children were asked to draw anything they like on earth and as an additional task they could plant a tree and care for it.
“I Wonder Why It Gets Dark at Night”
Children learnt about the fact that, the sun does not move but rather the earth that turns around so that the part that faces the sun is day and the part which is away from the sun is night. Children could experiment with a torch light to better understand why it gets dark at night. The children took part in a numeracy activity to practice how to break five objects into two groups.
For parents and carers, the sessions focussed on how they can support their children to learn at home, with a live phone in for questions and feedback. In addition, kindergarten teachers and head teachers were mobilised to voluntarily contact parents to check on their wellbeing and that of their children, and let them know of the kindergarten district radio programme as well as the National Ghana Learning TV programme.
We have also been delighted to have teachers volunteering to call parents to see how they are coping and offer them support and guidance to support their children’s learning. The radio programme has been so well received that some individuals from the districts including Ghana Education Service Directors, head teachers, teachers and parents volunteered to pay for community public address systems in some communities to help children to listen to story lessons.
Watch this space for more update …