Does it deliver what it says to?
When our adorable daughter turned age 1, her mother and I decided to enroll her at a Creche. We wanted her to begin the process of interacting with both her peers and knowledgeable adults, who are qualified in early childhood development studies; so are therefore qualified as practitioners / caregivers. We considered that her being with the right ‘people’ would support her personal, social and emotional development, as well as her communication and language. Not by default, but, in a purpose environment, to support and enhance her learning and development. We had in mind, her physical development too.
The preceding 3 areas of learning and development may be referred to as the domain general in Early Childhood Development. These [domain general] are so crucial in ensuring a successful future in lifelong learning, because, it is through them that the domain specifics – Maths, Literacy, and Science among others are strengthened. You can therefore understand why we were so keen to have had her started off on a strong foundation at that age.
In arriving at the decision to enroll her at the pre-school, we considered a lot of factors such as the academic qualifications of the staff, resource availability, curriculum in use, proximity to home, amongst others.
Even though we had wanted the best enabling environment for her as at that time, which we know would support her learning and development; we were so constrained by ‘a set of circumstances’, that we chose a pre-school that was closer to home.
If given the second chance, we [mummy and I] would have decided otherwise.
A good many parents in Ghana are increasingly constrained by myriad of factors in making decisions regarding where to enroll their child. In my view it is becoming even harder to choose a pre-school to enroll our children, simply because of the non-existence in Ghana, a classification regime, which assigns/awards a particular code/designation to reflect the quality of an early childhood provision.
If there were systems/regimes in place which allows professionals in Early Childhood Education and Care to express a professional judgement as to the effectiveness of pre-schools, such that pre-school A can be adjudged as outstanding in quality education and care and, pre-school B on the other hand needing improvement or is at a satisfactory level, then parents might want to enroll their child at a pre-school that may be far from home, knowing very well that their child would receive quality support in growth and development.
This therefore makes issues of decision making regarding where to enrol your child becomes easy primarily to proximity to the home in majority of cases. This is very regrettable, in this 21st Century.
What I think is even more deceptive about the pre-school system in Ghana is the names some schools are called. It isn’t uncommon see and hear names such as ‘International’, ‘Montessori’ etc.
It appears that there is a bracket being run in the country where schools charge parents [customers] exorbitant fees all in the name of being called ‘International’ or ‘Montessori’ amongst other names. But delivers nothing International or Montessori or the other.
For a school to be truly international [and called as such], it must be delivering a curriculum which is different from that of the country in which it is located. It must have some members of the teaching staff who are not being native of the country in which the school is situated. It must be delivering an agreed international curriculum which is supported by staff so qualified to deliver it.
A Montessori pre-school must practice the philosophy of Montessori and this must be visibly seen in the immediate environment. The environment must be rich in educational resources to enable it as being a stimulating environment; learning must be activity based, child initiated and led. Practitioners must be facilitators of learning rather than ‘instructors’. And, above all, the needs, interests and developmental stage of the children must be that which determines teaching and learning [planning] for each child as individual and the class as a group.
As things stand now in Ghana, it appears that the above information on the meaning of name of schools, and what they actually deliver to families is not being made available to parents prior to enrolling their child in pre-school settings.
May I therefore, suggest to parents, to seek information from professionals; to ask relevant questions from pre-schools they might want to enroll their child, regarding the name of a school and what ethos they do follow, before deciding on signing up their child.
In my view, Ghana as a country will be raising the standard of education and care for all young children and their families if it were to have a classification regime, which will assign designations to all maintained [government] and non-maintained [private and independent] pre-schools operating in the country.
If any pre-school setting doesn’t deliver what it says on the “tin”, just don’t buy it.
Pure and Simple!
This Article was Written By Komla Zafa DarteySubmit any breaking News, campus Filla , Event Promotion or Advertisement ,or Inquiries on Any of our Publications to Education.firstname.lastname@example.org or via our WhatsApp Number 0506440219 For Publication.