It’s another hot, Monday morning in Masindi, and lessons at the Redearth Nursery are about to begin. A steady stream of cars and boda bodas pulls up outside the gate, and children dressed in their smart, blue and red uniforms hop along the pebbled path towards their classrooms.
Today, they are joined by special visitor. Education Adviser Uganda from The Department for International Development (DFID) is paying a visit, to learn more about the impact of Redearth’s pre-primary and primary education programmes.
This visit is part of DFID’s current programme in Uganda, aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of education management systems and ultimately helping improve the equity and quality of learning outcomes for girls and boys. This involves working at both central and district levels to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of education management, especially the management of teachers.
With a focus on early learning, DFID aims to complement existing quality improvement efforts, and is identifying programmes currently working in Uganda to support improvements in learning outcomes. Because Redearth Education have been working to improve the quality of early grade learning since 2006, DFID are interested in viewing our programmes.
The morning begins with a tour around the nursery, led by co-founders Ronnie and Lynne, Centre Manager Emmanuel and Operations Manager Prince. From the veranda, a rustle of activity can be heard, and it is clear that classes are already underway. Inside, the nursery walls are decked with bright, warm colours. Green numbers grow out of trees painted onto rice sack posters, and bottle lines reveal colourful letters for phonics-learning activities. The eldest class, the Elephants, are busy at work. Children huddle around their desks, which are arranged in groups together to facilitate the group work taking place. One of the pupils is invited to read aloud to our visitor, and she confidently narrates the story with ease as he turns the pages of the book.
Outside, on the shaded veranda, a teacher leads the middle class, the Lions, in a range of constructive play activities aimed at reinforcing recent lesson objectives. One group practices counting to ten by filling containers at the water and sand stations. Another is busy rolling out thin lines of play dough and crafting them into numbers. Across the grass, the youngest class, the Elephants, are playing a sound game outside. As the children in Giraffes have a shorter attention span, their teachers Rose often incorporates song and movement into her learning activities to keep her pupils engaged. They are all busy practicing their counting with claps, jump and hops.