Imagine, you are a woman in a country where strict gender roles restrict what you are able to do. As this woman, you watch many of your classmates leave school as early as grade 7 to follow a relationship that is expected to produce your main purpose – a family. All the while, you persist to focus on your studies and eventually graduate from teacher’s college. The time comes for you too to have a family. At this point, you are a dedicated teacher to your school and if you are super lucky, maybe you have even managed to become principal. You have one or multiple kids and you really love your school and your job. Your child has become of preschool age – and as an educator you understand how important the early education of children is. Now you must choose between leaving a school you love because there is no early education program for your children or not educating your child until they reach the age of 6 to enroll in the school you teach at.
A majority of teachers at my school are facing the dilemma on whether to stay at a school they love or to be transferred to a new school that provides kindy (pre-school) facilities for their own children. Every year, this school loses quality teachers to this dilemma. The capacity building of the school also suffers from this high turnover rate.
To address this issue the school wishes to build a kindy for the school and the surrounding villages. My school services 13 villages and wishes to extend the quality education they currently offer to students in Year 1 to Year 8 to students who are beginning their education journey and create a strong foundation for them to build their future success.
5 community members sit on the Kindy Committee. All service area communities will participate in building the Kindy. 2 community members will provide meals for those working on the structure. 2 community members will provide transportation for the project. Multiple community members will help gather local materials for the building as well as the playground. The school board and principal have worked together to create the scope of this project and will be hiring 1 (possibly 2) local teachers. The newly hired community librarian will help in resource development and attainment for the kindy. Currently, there are 6 villages within the schools service area that have already expressed interest in enrollment, more are expected once the project is finished.
This project is sustainable because it is spearheaded by the teachers at the school. The building will be constructed by the community, the teachers, and students will come from the community. The school board has garnered support for this project and has committed to its continued success. The Ministry of Education also monitors its performance annually and it will become part of the overall structure of the school.
The creation of this kindy will provide at least 1 or more local women with the skill set and opportunity to teach. These women will receive training from the Early Childhood Care and Education Department and continued professional development through local workshops conducted by teachers and visiting guest at the Center School, as well as, any provided training by the Ministry of Education.
The position for the teachers will be paid for by the Ministry of Education and the continued maintenance of the school and training will be covered by the grant that the government gives to them like they do for all the primary and secondary schools.