Our Transformational Teacher Training for Kindergarten Teachers in the Eastern Region of Ghana, began in September 2019 and is working to tackle a lack of trained teachers in the region. To date 1,534 teachers, head teachers and Ghana Education Service officers have received training on how to implement play-based teaching and are improving the education of 15,758 children across the Eastern Region.
Margaret Boahema Quaye was a kindergarten teacher at Obosomase Presbytarian Basic school, and was one of the teachers benefitting from the Transformational Teacher Training project in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Margaret did an incredible job during the training programme and became part of the team of trainers supporting other teachers in the district to implement what they have learnt.
In October 2020, we were so pleased that Margaret decided to join the Sabre Education team as a District Programme Officer, responsible for Nsawam-Adoagyiri District, one of the six we are working in across the Eastern Region. Here Margaret tells us of her experiences on the training programme as a teacher and also why she decided to join Sabre Education.
“Prior to Sabre Education’s intervention, I employed the rote method of lesson delivery which is more teacher-centred. Most of the time I did all the talking and only a few times would I involve the children in other activities. So, most of the time it was like the teacher talking, playing the teacher role all the time, giving only a few opportunities for children to express themselves and only when I wanted to check their understanding.
Although I had foreknowledge of the play-based approach with my diploma and degree in early childhood education, Sabre’s intervention deepened my passion for early childhood education. I previously set up learning areas (to role play shopping, learn literacy and play music) in my classroom with only a few items, but they were positioned in places that were restrictive to the children because I felt the children would spoil them. In effect, they were created for decorative purposes and used on only a few occasions. But after the training, I realised that the centres serve a much more useful child-centred, development purpose than I thought. Through the training I gained adequate and appropriate materials for all the learning centres in my classroom. I also put into use the new centres I learnt about on the training, such as the construction centre and chief’s palace centre. I then allowed the children to access and use them mostly for our indoor activities. Learning centres that used to be above the reach of the children were properly positioned to meet the needs of the learners.
There was a tremendous change in my classroom as a result of the training on the play-based approach. With this new training I realised that children learn better when they are involved in playful activities, so I gave them the opportunity to explore and do things on their own to help them to learn better. I made my classroom print-rich with various learning centres where the children now go to play on their own, with me the teacher facilitating. I can say boldly that the children in my classroom were learning better and were always excited to come to school because of the varied activities they engaged in every day and the opportunity provided for them to play. This served as a great motivation for me to do more to effect as much change as possible in my classroom and beyond. My learners were able to perform certain tasks on their own without relying on the teacher. My learners became confident, they communicated freely without fear, they became more curious as they always wanted to know the next thing I was going to do with them. Indeed, my children became very happy learners.
I decided to work for Sabre because I was excited about the new experience and learning I was about to gain. I also realised it’s an avenue where I could share my knowledge with other colleagues and contribute my quota to help develop the Ghanaian kindergarten child.
I am now able to share my knowledge on child-centred pedagogy with other stakeholders of education in my municipality and in effect, the whole of Ghana. I have become more like a resource person who teachers call on whenever they are facing challenges in their schools. I am very certain this has impacted positively the kindergarten teachers”.
Margaret shared her wishes for the future, “I would like a future where all children of school age have access to high quality early education with kindergarten teachers who can develop them holistically giving them the chance of a bright future”