A group of seven enthusiastic British teachers returned home last week after nearly a fortnight interacting with two nurseries in Moshi, Tanzania. One of these, Uwawayaki Women’s Centre, is a project that COCO has worked with for a number of years and which, as part of their activities, run a nursery.
The teachers aimed to help their counterparts in Tanzania by adding to, and refining, their current teaching methods. Firstly the team set aside time to simply observe typical daily life at the nursery as well as carrying out more formal consultations with the nursery teachers.
The next step was for the team to draw on their considerable combined experience of both primary, secondary and college teaching to formulate suggested methods which could help staff in Tanzania cope with an often overwhelming number of young minds in their care!!
If the Tanzanian teachers judge the methods to be appropriate it is hoped that they will contribute towards better quality learning, improved attention in lessons and better behaviour management as well as ensuring that nursery is a fun experience for all involved!! That play is central to child development, regardless of where a child grows up, is something that has been made increasingly clear by research over recent years. The methods which the team ultimately brought to the table are very much focused on utilising play in learning.
As well as knowledge sharing each participant raised sponsorship, over and above the setup cost of the trip, as a donation towards the work of COCO. Part of these donations were used to employ local labour to improve facilities at the nurseries. Work included the construction of a long-needed fence to secure the site at Uwawayaki and renovations to the nursery playground. This meant that the communities were left with a facility to be truly proud of.
But of course the experience could not help but be a two-way learning process and the teachers who were privileged enough to have a glimpse into life in-and-around Moshi have, we are certain, been transformed as much as the people whose skills they helped to develop.