Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Resourcing ECD centres

Dear Friends,

Desks and tables are the primary pieces of furniture in any classroom learning environment and yet for many Early Childhood Development (ECD) program pupils in Zimbabwe this is something they will experience in the upper grades. ECD pupils spend an overall average time of at least one and half hours seated each school day during teacher directed activities. Many of Zimbabwe’s schools, especially those in rural areas, have inadequate classroom facilities for their ECD pupils. Our experience in some of the schools shows that some pupils have no classroom furniture and pupils have to either sit on a bare floor or mat depending on the affordability of the community. ECD Classroom blocks, child friendly ECD classrooms and child sized classroom furniture continue to be a challenge for most rural schools. Children’s experiences are limited by their surroundings, the environment we provide for them has a crucial impact on the way the child’s brain develops (Strong-Wilson & Ellis, 2007, p. 43).

At Nhaka Foundation we believe all children should have access to quality education in a conducive learning environment regardless of one’s background or community. A good early childhood classroom environment is one that meets the child's basic needs, supports and encourages children to engage in various learning and play activities. Further to our ECD Classroom renovation in 2016, we are very excited to be moving on to the next phase of the project by way of classroom refurbishment. 

This week two of the schools that have benefitted from the ECD Classroom renovation program will also receive classroom furniture for the ECD B pupils compliments of a partner we are working with. Until now the pupils at the two schools have been having lessons on the floor which makes it difficult to draw, colour or do any activities with ease. The classroom refurbishment will not only remove a barrier to learning but will also make the students feel comfortable in their surroundings. This will build the children’s self-esteem by making them feel the classroom is designed for them. It will also help the teachers with classroom management and facilitate optimum learning for pupils. 

One’s environment also influences how one feels about themselves and their job, and for the teachers how they relate to the children in their classroom I guess. Here’s to 10 years of working towards a leaving lasting legacy!

GlendaECD Program Officer