During the first five years of a child’s life, quality education, play and stimulation are crucial for development, this is when 90% of brain development takes place. (Theirworld, 2021).
Whilst 85% of teachers in Ghana have now received some formal teacher training, the vast majority have received no training in how to effectively deliver the play-based kindergarten curriculum advocated by the Government of Ghana (EMIS 2018/2019).
Student teachers studying for their teaching qualification in Ghana, must spend time getting hands on experience in kindergarten classrooms. However, after learning about the importance of young children learning through play, they arrive in classrooms managed by untrained teachers who are not demonstrating the kind of teaching they have learnt about at College. This makes it really difficult for them to implement the new, more effective, play-based approach. Furthermore, the classroom teachers have had no training in how to coach and mentor a student teacher. How then can the student teachers put their theory into quality practice?
Sabre’s award winning Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training project tackles this dual challenge of untrained classroom teachers, still using the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ method of teaching and with no coaching skills, and the utter lack of quality practical placements for student teachers to put their theory into practice. This programme not only trains classroom teachers to deliver the government endorsed play-based curriculum, but it also gives teachers the skills to coach and mentor student teachers placed in their classrooms.
This year, in partnership with the Ghana Education Service and Holy Child College of Education (teacher training college), we have completed the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training project in the Western Region of Ghana.
This has allowed us to set up a network of 84 model practice classrooms in close proximity to Holy Child College of Education, staffed by 142 teachers and 39 head teachers who have received two years of teacher training. These model practice classrooms are named as such because the teachers working in them have received both training to deliver quality learning to kindergarten children, and the skills to coach and mentor student teachers placed in their classrooms. They are therefore demonstrating best practice in kindergarten teaching.
Each year these model practice classrooms will now be able to provide high quality practical placements for up to 168 student teachers every year from Holy Child College of Education.
Every year, each model practice classroom will be able to provide a high quality education for up to 40 kindergarten children, giving them the solid foundation with which they can successfully progress throughout the rest of their learning journey. Importantly, these classrooms ensure that student teachers are supported to implement play-based teaching in the long term, improving the way young children learn across the country. Since this project began, in 2014, the model practice classrooms established in the Western Region have provided over 9,500 kindergarten children with a quality start to their education.
There is still more to do as we continue to work with colleges of education and the Ghana Education Service to improve the quality of teaching and learning in kindergarten in Ghana. If you would like to support our teacher training work please click here.