Workshops in Nursery Education November – December 2012

On November 7th three of us, all retired teachers, headed out to The Gambia to run workshops in Nursery Education. Sixty seven nursery teachers attended the workshops over a period of three weeks, the first two  in Banjul and the third in Bwiam, about 115km inland.The workshops covered subjects across the curriculum including oral language, literacy, numeracy, the value of story and rhyme, pre-writing, early writing, physical education, classroom management, planning and resource making .  The workshops were hands on and interactive. It was heartening  to work with such enthusiastic participants

Our Gambian colleagues, who coordinated the workshops from their end, agreed the subjects beforehand and attended all the workshops. They were on hand for clarification on curricular matters and teaching methodologies most appropriate to the situation on the ground in their nursery schools.

Some of the volunteers who go out in January will follow up in the classrooms of teachers who attended the workshops. Their task will be to support the teachers, many of whom are untrained. They will show them the practical application in the classroom of the work done in the workshops and encourage them to sustain their good work in the face of so many real every day challenges.

We returned on December 6th to the frenetic lead up to Christmas which didn’t sit easily after such a grounding and humbling experience. The 67 teachers we worked with educate the children in their care with the basic tools of our trade – ability and enthusiasm. Our role was to help them develop their knowledge and skills and reflect on new approaches to nursery education.

They value items we now throw away and make teaching aids from materials that can be found freely, such as bottle tops and cardboard boxes.  We remember, not so long ago, collecting these treasures for our own classrooms.

It was a joy and a privilege to be involved in the running of these workshops. The best Christmas present that came our way this year!

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