Preschool program of operation is Monduli, Longido, Simanjiro, Arusha and Meru districts.
The program has been playing a key role of working hard to meet its objectives in providing opportunity to the targeted group of children who had no chance to access quality preschool education. In this phase 2019-2021, the children aged 3-6 years have had opportunity to gain from the program since its inception in regard to early childhood education and are well prepared for the next level of learning. The presence of these preschools in the Maasai community has continued to give chance to many children to access quality preschool education and well prepared for primary education. Besides, children with special needs are not left behind either since they have equal rights thus encouraged to intermingle with others and feel accepted.
Educators have shown a lot of improvement in regard to Life Oriented Approach (LOA). This has been reflected through holistic formation of self in view of daily life experience and preschool children towards early childhood education in comparison to the year 2019 when they had just been enrolled in the program. The remarkable improvement has been noted from them as a result of several training conducted to them. Their approach of teaching profession has also improved very greatly. Thanks to the Kindermissionswerk for financing these trainings and other project activities.
Being a community-based program, parents have continued to enact their responsibilities in relation to education for their children. This is because; it is a collaborative project which need contribution from both sides; preschool project and the community itself. In this view, they have continued to play their role in making sure that they adhere to them promptly. Furthermore, they have shown a lot of interest to send their children to preschool for they have come to value early childhood education.
Contributing to assure pedagogical quality in preschools in Tanzania and the dissemination of
the Life-Oriented Approach (LOA) in relation to the new curriculum.
Children at the age of 3-6 years including those with special needs in all project preschools acquire basic skills and knowledge related to their daily life and are well prepared for primary education.
Educators from all preschools have knowledge and skills of the LOA and the new
harmonized Syllabus and apply it in their preschools.
Parents and parent’s committees are aware of the developmental needs of the children, play an active role in running and managing preschool centers and contribute for their sustainability.
The LOA methodology and its relation to the harmonized syllabus is understood by Early Childhood Education (ECE) stakeholders in the Districts of Monduli, Longido, Simanjiro and Arumeru and disseminated in colleges/Institutions
Government structures in the respective districts recognizes, supports and monitor all preschools projects.
Networking and collaboration with other education stakeholders is maintained to influence the provision of quality preschool education in Tanzania.
For the reporting period, preschool school has honored its planned objectives and adhered to them promptly despite learning been interrupted by the corona pandemic that was experienced in the whole world. Some of the activities which were supposed to be realized by the first six month were covered before the end of the year. However as reported early that most of monitoring activities did not been implemented in the first six months instead parents training was intensified. The objectives relevant to the period have been implemented too. Further, many achievements have been realized but not without challenges as already reflected in the logical framework above although the intended objectives achieved.
Children in 25 preschools who about 1578 in number incorporated in this phase have continued to improve in their learning patterns. They have really improved greatly with the Life oriented approach philosophy which advocates learning in real life experience for children besides, its child centered methodology. Most of the children are able to explore the environment within and without hence manipulate local materials the knowledge they have received from educators. They have become conversant in making some local materials like local balls for playing games, traditional colors and toys using clay soil. This helps them to develop fine and motor skills and enhance creative thinking. Children with special needs have also found a room to interact and play well with other children and converse with them without fear of intimidation since a lot of confidence has been built on them by educators to feel that they belong. More than 867 children have been enrolled in government primary schools to continue with their education with good preparation they had from LOA preschools.
The training workshops conducted for educators depict average level of understanding of LOA and early child education knowledge. LOA approach has helped educators to move away from teacher centered to child centered methodology.
The preschool has continued to do lobbing/advocacy meetings and follow-ups with government local leaders and other relevant stakeholders for the smooth running of the project. The meeting has shown great support in regard to following up project preschools to see they are learning in relation to ECE regulation/guidelines laid down by the government and offer necessary assistance where necessary. Networking analysis showed that, these stakeholders have realized preschool program is helping the government to offer better ECE education services. Therefore, feel challenged and obliged to help all without boundaries for there are no children for Catholic Church and government as they are all Tanzanians children who need equal attention.
The preschool program has continued to collaborate well with Arusha teachers’ college through dissemination of Life-oriented approach. They have continued to send some of their teachers to join workshop trainings for our educators. They also do internship to our LOA preschools as part of their practical work. A great impact has been realized through good reports from the Director of the college how LOA methodology has helped their teachers in their teaching profession. Other colleges are looking forward next year to send their teachers to the preschool program during workshop training to have the same skills and knowledge of LOA. This is the impact of LOA dissemination as a child centers methodology appreciated by different ECE stakeholders.
AAIDRO through Archdiocese of Arusha invited a volunteer from Germany to help in some issues within AAIDRO management. During his stay, he got interested to know about community based preschool program. Having gotten how the program works, he had a chance to visit with coordinators to some preschools conducted under open air space and those using permanent buildings. Having this exposure, he decided to support one preschool under the tree with construction in regard to improving learning environment for children. One classroom, toilet, kitchen have been constructed and equipped with furniture and learning materials which has really improved their learning environment. This implies how construction activity is of great paramount because it improves learning environment for the children and the materials which educators make during the training are kept serve.
Preschool program is audited by Shebrila Company since the beginning of the phase. Unfortunately, the owner of the firm passed away in the midst of year and this has slowed down auditing exercise for 2020. However they have informed us to perform auditing as soon as possible and submit the report.
The first phase of the KZE support 2019 – 2021 is December 2021; we real give our gratitude to KZE for the noble support they gave to implement project activities for this phase.
Having project preschools services within the Maasai community, many have been motivated to see the importance of sending their children to preschools. Again it is because they are near their homestead where they will not walk for long distance as before. More important is children have chances to be well prepared to start primary education while they know Kiswahili. They can explain themselves freely, know school procedures and confident, mathematic concepts and language skills obtained is the basic foundation for the more knowledge. Furthermore, mothers can engage themselves to other home cores because they know their children are safe in school where they obtain quality education just to mention the few.
This has therefore made other villages whose schools are not incorporated to the program pledge their request to the program.
At present, we have about 53 new requests from different villages’ leaders of Longido and Monduli who have submitted their application requesting their schools to be incorporated in the program. The aim is for their educators to be helped to acquire early childhood skills to teach their children since they don’t have the knowledge. However, the project is limited to only those within the phase.
In this regard, the project is humbly requesting Kindermissionswerk to give them another phase 2022- 2024 to continue helping these children to get quality education. If allowed, then more 25 preschools will have a good chance to be incorporated in the project in another phase with KZE, in the same time educators and children from the first phase would have chances to continue with training to become full professionals. The communities also need more awareness about preschool education and trainings related to the holistic formation of the young children in same rural Maasai areas where project has not yet incorporate them.