The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day is “The transformation of education begins with teachers” and we couldn’t agree with this more!

We have met many amazing teachers over the years, and on this World Teacher’s Day we want to shine a light on Regina Tetteh, a kindergarten teacher in the Central Region of Ghana.

Ghana is ahead of the curve with early years education, with two years of free compulsory kindergarten and a play-based curriculum. Whilst enrolment at kindergarten has increased there are still challenges with the quality of learning taking place, meaning young children are still experiencing poor learning outcomes at a critical stage of their development. These early education years are so important as amazingly 90% of the brain has developed by the time a child reaches five years of age.

Sabre has been working with the Ghana Education Service and school communities to support teachers to make the shift from using traditional rote based teaching methods, which encourages learning through memorisation and repetition, to play-based teaching. Play- based learning during the early years is seen as the most effective for a child’s brain development. To date over 7,800 kindergarten teachers have been trained, and as a result over 132,300 children have benefitted from learning through play!

We have known Regina since 2015, when she was a student teacher at OLA College of Education. In 2016, Regina received Sabre’s teacher training, and the play-based classroom environment that she has created for her pupils is truly inspiring. Each day children learn through completing various activities that promote literacy, numeracy and creative skills in small groups both inside and outside of the classroom. There are different learning centres set up around the classroom, such as a book centre, construction centre and market centre that allow for independent playful learning and exploration. This method of teaching has resulted in learners that are truly engaged in their learning and excited to come to school each day.

In 2020 Regina was recognized as a top ten finalist in the National Outstanding Teacher Award, at the Ghana Teacher Prize. She was also a huge support during the COVID-19 school closures by volunteering her time to share educational stories via radio to ensure children at home could continue to learn.

We are thrilled to share that this year Regina has been shortlisted for the Educator of the Year award in the Africa Early Childhood Education Awards.

Regina shared some of the brilliant progress she has seen in the children she teaches, particularly in their confidence and critical thinking.

“I have created a pleasant and friendly classroom environment for my learners. They ask lots of questions and express themselves freely. I remember one child asking me why their shop (in the market centre) in the classroom had no doors, the mother of one of their classmates has a shop with lockable doors. I asked them what we could do to keep the classroom shop locked. To my amazement, they responded that they would like to use the chairs to create a door to the shopping centre so no one enters. I was impressed at how they were able to relate the classroom activity to the experience in their community”.

Thank you, Regina, and all of the teachers that we have the privilege of working with, for all of your hard work in ensuring that thousands of young Ghanaians receive a quality start to their education.