Meet Taylor Carlson, a student in her fourth and final year of studying for a Bachelors in Business Administration at the University of Florida. Taylor joined Foundation First as an intern and as her time comes to an end she reflects on her time with us.
With prior experience volunteering and working with NGOs, Taylor joined Foundation First bringing a different perspective and valuable experience in marketing through her work for Project Canis, where she works as a Marketing Coordinator.
Internships with NGOs have become popular amongst students as it provides important skill-building opportunities, hands-on learning experience, and the opportunity to contribute to the beneficial work that charities do. Interning with NGOs provides the opportunity to work on important projects that help contribute to society and societal issues, whilst working with people from different backgrounds is another benefit making it a great place to meet new people.
The great thing about interning or volunteering is that it is a chance to use your existing skills to make a contribution to society. NGOs always need additional help and support but what is offered in return is a chance to learn and develop skills.
Interning for 2 months, Taylor’s time with us is short but shows the importance of internships to anyone who is interested in working with nonprofits. She has helped us launch our Christmas Fundraiser and has been working closely with our social media and marketing team to share & exchange knowledge and skills. Helping to contribute to a charity that gains something special from every internship and volunteer.
Volunteering and internships can open doors to new people and new experiences, helping people who want to help, get together to make a difference.
The sustainable development goals and their impact
Why were the sustainable development goals (SDGs) created?
The SDGs, or Global Goals, were built on the success of the millennium development goals (MDGs) and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. They are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed as the blueprint for addressing global challenges (poverty, low-quality education, inequality, etc.) and are a call for action by all countries to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
Why are the goals more important now than ever?
We only have nine years left to achieve them – and we have a lot to do in that time. Also, they have become increasingly relevant to all nations in this COVID era, so there is a need to hasten their implementation to build a fairer, healthier, and safer environment for all.
“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.’’
BAN KI- MOON
Which goals are Foundation First targeting?
Foundation First is targeting four of them: Goal 1 (No Poverty); Goal 4 (Quality Education); Goal 5 (Gender Equality); and Goal 17 (Partnerships For The Goals).
Foundation First is targeting four of them: Goal 1 (No Poverty); Goal 4 (Quality Education); Goal 5 (Gender Equality); and Goal 17 (Partnerships For The Goals).
GOAL 1: NO POVERTY
The first goal aims to end all forms of poverty and to promote sustainable growth and development among women, men and children. This goal focuses not just on people living in poverty, but also on countries’ social policies and interventions aimed at achieving the goal.
Foundation First is deliberately targeting Goal 1 to reduce poverty in communities, societies and the country as a whole. This is because an educated workforce supports the development of the economy, makes citizens more informed and active in the democratic process, and creates a new generation of teachers, doctors, and leaders. As Nelson Mandela said, the greatest weapon to reduce poverty is quality education.
GOAL 4: QUALITY EDUCATION
Education is key to sustainable development and Goal 4 aims to provide children and young people with quality and easily accessible learning opportunities. One of its targets is to achieve universal literacy and numeracy, which are major components in acquiring knowledge and skills in the learning environment.
Foundation First’s training approach is helping to attain this target by, for example, improving young children’s literacy skills through promoting meaningful story sharing sessions, classroom reading centres, talk walls, provision of print-rich environments, and other language development initiatives. This has helped to elevate children out of learning poverty and has so far improved the literacy skills of approximately 19,800 learners across Ghana.
Similarly, our creative mathematical activities, such as number talk and our learning centres that are set up for counting, classifying and measuring activities, have helped children to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.
Foundation First is helping to achieve and sustain Goal 4 by providing teachers with support and development that complements the government of Ghana’s efforts. We target teachers because having qualified teachers is key to achieving Goal 4. Qualified teachers create effective teaching and learning environments which lead to positive learning outcomes.
Specifically, Foundation First teacher support and development initiatives transform and empower teachers and provide them with the knowledge and skills that enable them to lay a strong and better foundation to prepare children for the future. Foundation First also engages with communities to create awareness of the importance of early childhood education and to encourage them to provide children with support and access to activities that enable them to master key developmental tasks.
‘’Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.’’
GOAL 5: GENDER EQUALITY
Goal 5 aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women in the public and private spheres and to undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources and access to ownership of property. Generally in Ghana preschool teachers, who are mostly women, are not highly regarded and are accorded low status and recognition in society, leading to them feeling inferior and having low self-esteem.
Foundation First’s training approach is reducing/eliminating such discrimination as it professionalizes the women-led preschool sector by raising the status and confidence of preschool educators. The growing expertise of these educators influences society positively and leads to the promotion of girl child education. Our classroom resources and activities create a positive, interactive and stimulating environment that is friendly to both girls and boys and motivates girls to explore the learning environment. We also use female role models to encourage the preschool girl child to remain in school and to aspire to become like one of these role models.
Would you like to learn more about our approach to addressing gender inequality in the classroom? This will be outlined in Blog No.3.
’Achieving gender equality requires the engagement of women and men, girls and boys. It is everyone’s responsibility.’’
BAN KI – MOON
GOAL 17: PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS
Goal 17 refers to the need for cross-sector and cross-country collaboration in pursuit of all the goals by the year 2030. Goal 17 aims to strengthen the means of implementation of the SDGs and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. Partnerships for Foundation First are the core/backbone of what we do. We believe that the other goals we are working towards can be achieved and sustained through partnerships. We collaborate and partner with organizations such as Edify and JICA. To find out about our partnership work with these organizations, kindly click here.
’The best partnerships aren’t dependent on a mere common goal but on a shared path of equality, desire, and no small amount of passion.’’
How can these SDGs be achieved?
We need to have an action plan to develop and scale up awareness of the SDGs that will target local government (chiefs, queen mothers, local assembly members), religious leaders, parents, teachers, students, and industry players – and, perhaps most crucially, the media – about the relevance of these SDGs. Only by working together to mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial resources, can we successfully achieve and sustain these goals, particularly in Ghana, by the end of 2030.
Meet one of our volunteers, Harriet Delali Deku. Dela joined the Foundation First (FF) Ghana team in February 2021 and is planning to stay with us until she decides to leave.
My views on volunteering:
Volunteering is the act of giving your time and service to a cause without payment. It can be done for a variety of reasons. Some volunteer to pass government classes, some volunteer to give back near the holidays, and some just do it for the sake of doing it, without reason. For me, volunteering is a way of life. It was how I grew up, and it defines me. My goal in life is to inspire others to give back in any way they can, not because they have to, but because they want to.
My background and my volunteer role within FF:
I am a tertiary educator in the field of educational psychology, with over seven years’ experience of volunteering in different aspects both with local and international organizations. Currently, I am responsible for managing FF’s social media accounts and I am part of the newsletter team. I have a keen interest in developmentally appropriate practices in the early childhood education classroom and have expertise in understanding how children learn.
A taste of how I’ve developed through volunteering with FF:
I was glad to join an FF training-of-master-trainers workshop as it has helped me learn more about FF’s processes and procedures and prepare for my journey towards becoming an FF master trainer. The workshop included the following topics: Ghana National Teachers’ Standards, best practices in early childhood learning, and how to set up a contemporary model classroom. I learned, unlearned, and relearned many things and I notably gained from the workshop.
My personal recommendation to anyone wondering about volunteering:
My personal recommendation to you is to join a club or group that does community service. In addition, or alternatively, find a worthwhile charity that you would like to help, then call them and ask them what they need help with. You could get your friends involved and make it even more fun. For me, I love knowing I can do something, and that we as a generation have control over something. Volunteering does so much for the community, but it does so much for you as an individual as well.
Sabina Awortwe, our Partnership and Programme Manager, has written a series of thought-provoking pieces on the contemporary ECE scene in Ghana. Here is the first of these. It’s a myth-buster, outlining Sabina’s views on the damage to young children’s foundational learning caused by pervading myths and misconceptions about early childhood education.
Sabina is a preschool teacher educator with over three years’ experience of delivering Foundation First’s practical teacher development and support work and managing our partnerships and programmes. Sabina has a particular interest and expertise in educational frameworks and in the foundations of best practice early childhood education. In her role with FF, she has worked on a range of teacher education partnership initiatives with other national and international NGOs.
Some common misconceptions about early childhood education in Ghana: How Foundation First is addressing the issues
Early childhood education (ECE) is a programme for children from two to eight years old, which aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, academic and psychomotor skills that lay a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing.
In Ghana, prior to the government setting ECE as a priority in 2012 through its Programme to Scale-Up Quality Kindergarten Education in Ghana, there had been limited awareness about the unique nature of programmes for young children. However, despite the increased awareness in recent years, many myths and misconceptions about working in ECE persist.
Misconception #1: ECE is ‘day care’ and ECE professionals are ‘babysitters’
Some parents take the view that ECE professionals simply play all day and babysit children.This misconception has resulted in children failing to benefit from an educational experience that could assist their development and learning experiences for years to come. A well-trained early learning teacher has deep knowledge of how children develop physically, emotionally, socially and academically and they use this knowledge to create an engaging classroom environment and to individualise instruction for each child to ensure appropriate support at each stage in their development.
This is why Foundation First (FF) believes that effective early learning facilitators are far from babysitters and that effective ECE is far from day care. FF is helping to erase these myths/misconceptions by empowering ECE teachers with appropriate scientific and educational background knowledge and providing them with best practice curriculum-related teaching and learning experiences.
Misconception #2: Early childhood education forces children to start studying too early
Many Ghanaians think that this early stage in life is meant simply for kids to be free from learning and enjoy being young. To Foundation First, this is a complete myth. In our experience, children learn each and every day and they learn and take in more information at a younger age than they do when older. So early education is basically taking advantage of this early years period. Furthermore, research has proven that early years education helps, rather than harms, children’s academic future (Heckman, 2006; Barnett, 2011; and European Commission, 2014).
Our brain only gets built once and research has also proven that brain building is especially critical between the ages of two and seven (Sriram, 2020). That is why our FF training approach uses information from neuroscience and the foundations of early years learning to guide preschool teachers to expose young children to varied, stimulating experiences within calm, friendly environments. Our approach also emphasises the need for children to acquire executive function skills, including critical thinking, making connections, taking on challenges, and being self-directed and engaged learners.
Misconception #3: Early childhood education is a waste of government spending
FF thinks the opposite: that the government and society will benefit more from spending on early years education than on any other stage of education. Currently, many children are failing to achieve their potential in life and this can be looked at in terms of economic loss, such as human capital loss, so spending more on ECE would have economic benefits such as human capital gains (Dickens, Sawhill and Tebbs, 2006). Furthermore, investment in ECE reduces the chances of young children failing to properly develop key metacognitive skills, such as questioning and reflecting, as these skills “contribute significantly to [young children’s] learning and success” (Escolano-Perez, Herrero-Nivela and Anguera, 2019).
Furthermore, children who receive a solid foundation of quality ECE are more likely to live a healthy life (e.g. in terms of oral hygiene, hand washing, caring for their bodies, and being aware of nutritious foods), more likely to avoid negative lifestyles that can endanger their lives, more likely to continue their education when they finish high school, more likely to graduate from college, more likely to obtain highly skilled jobs that pay well, and less likely to get involved in criminal activity.
The scientific evidence is very clear as to what we should be doing in the ECE sector and how we should be doing it, as well as why doing it would lead to better outcomes and a better society for all. We, at Foundation First, will continue to promote this scientific evidence in our mission to undermine prevailing myths and misconceptions about ECE.
Barnett, W.S. (2011). Effectiveness of Early Educational Intervention. Science, 333, 975-978.
Dickens, W.T., Sawhill, I. and Tebbs, J. (2006). The Effects of Investing in Early Education on Economic Growth. Policy Brief #153 The Brookings Institution.
Escolano-Pérez, E., Herrero-Nivela, M.R. and Anguera, M.T. (2019). Preschool Metacognitive Skill Assessment in Order to Promote Educational Sensitive Response From Mixed-Methods Approach: Complementarity of Data Analysis. Frontiers in Psychology. (https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01298).
European Commission (2014). Proposal for Key Principles of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care. Report of the Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care under the auspices of the European Commission, Brussels.
Heckman, J.J. (2006). Skill Formation and the Economics of Investing in Disadvantaged Children. Science, 312(5782), 1900-1902 (doi:10.1126/science.1128898).
Anita is a kindergarten teacher at Sarkis Foundation School in Takoradi, where she has been teaching for the last three years. She is a dedicated teacher whose goal is to become a master trainer for Foundation First. To get there, she aims to do a good deal of learning and practising and she’s glad that she has the opportunity to be mentored by our most experienced master trainers, such as Bibi Kolevi
Anita the reflective practitioner
At the end of April 2021, Anita accompanied Bibi and other members of the Foundation First (FF) teacher development and support team when they delivered a workshop in Akyem Oda, in the Eastern Region of Ghana, for staff of Edify Ghana partner schools. Anita’s observations and participation at the workshop have since led her to develop and change some of her own teaching practices. For example, she has been working recently on improving her classroom questioning techniques and providing a greater range of activities to help the children in her class to think critically.
Anita the trainee master trainer
Not only the April workshop, but also a recent workshop delivered by FF’s master trainers for master trainees has helped Anita move forward in her journey towards becoming an FF master trainer. This workshop explored important topics, such as the foundations of best practices in early childhood learning and Ghana’s national teaching standards, and it gave the trainees an opportunity to practise delivering training in a safe and supportive environment. Anita told us she greatly benefited from the workshop and she suggested that the master trainers start periodically coaching and testing her and her fellow trainees on all Foundation First’s early years content.
BEST OF LUCK ON YOUR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT JOURNEY ANITA!
We were delighted to welcome Tuuli Gaamuo Fidelis (Programme Officer, JICA) and Wada Yoshinari (Volunteer Coordinator, JICA) to our office this month.
The purpose of the visit was for us to expand our knowledge about the contribution that JICA volunteers, known as Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs), have for more than forty years been making to various sectors in Ghana, including education, and for us to share Foundation First’s strategy, approach, progress and challenges. We also talked with Wada and Fidelis about the possibility of us hosting a JOCV computer instructor to help us with developing a database, online teacher training programmes, and updating our website.
Seven members of the Foundation First team were able to brief Fidelis and Wada about different aspects of our work, especially in relation to how we work with teachers and the wider community. Our two volunteers, Stephens and Dela, talked positively about their experiences of volunteering with us. They praised our induction process, the way we plan our programmes and activities, and our team work. They spoke of how our team work leads to effectiveness in what we do and enables everyone to learn from each other.
At the end of their visit, Wada and Fidelis told us that one thing that had appealed to them from the moment of entering our office were our prominently positioned posters declaring: “I am a learner, you are a learner, we are ALL learners”. During their stay, they had been able to see our team spirit shining through – and Fidelis said he was even tempted to apply to volunteer with us!
As part of a blog series about our kindergarten teacher support and development work in Koforidua and Greater Accra in partnership with Edify Ghana, this blog talks about our final visits to the schools involved.
Five to six weeks after the successful delivery of our workshops in mid February 2021, a joint Foundation First / Ghana Edify team visited the schools that had participated in the workshops. The visits were aimed mainly at discovering the impact of the workshops by observing subsequent changes in the schools’ kindergarten classrooms. The observers did also engage in coaching teachers in areas they were uncertain about or struggling with.
What the visits revealed
We discovered that the workshops had considerable impact because all the classrooms visited had improved in a number of ways. Naturally, some classrooms had improved more than others and we also discovered that teachers’ use of some teaching and learning approaches had improved more than others.
We were pleased to see that children engaging in self-registration was the approach where the greatest improvement was found between our pre- and post-workshop visits. Similarly, teachers putting children into groups, using story maps and having classroom rules displayed visibly were all very significant and encouraging improvements.
Some of the approaches where the least progress had been made did not greatly concern us because the lack of progress was a reflection of the fact that many teachers had been using the approaches before the workshops. One of these was praising children for positive behaviour because, although more teachers were doing this more often after the workshops, it had been in evidence before. Similarly, daily story sharing was occurring a bit more after the workshops, more classrooms were inviting places for children to spend their time in, and there were more forms of printed material (e.g. charts, labels, maps etc.) for children to interact with than previously.
While the results were encouraging and revealed that many teachers had successfully adopted new teaching and learning approaches as a result of the workshops, we feel that further support and encouragement will be needed to enable them to improve even more. This will enable a full transformation of their classrooms and will be to the full benefit of the children in their care.
While delivering two classroom management-focused workshops for Edify partner schools in late February, the five-person Foundation First team were struck by the huge impact the workshops were having on the participants. Upon reflection, they realised that a major contributor to this was that each of them was delivering sessions in the areas where they particularly excel. This high impact shouldn’t actually surprise us because, as we all know, excellent workshop delivery leads to thorough understanding and enthusiastic take-up on the part of participants.
The areas in which the team displayed their expertise
1. Starting with Araba Brakah-Amoah, she excelled in these workshops in modelling how to carry out story sharing effectively. She did this through applying a combination of technical and affective skills, such as varying her voice and throwing herself into the storyline. Teachers were spellbound and are now anxious to have the same effect on the children they teach.
2. Bibi Kolevi’s expertise lay in linking teaching and learning resources to specific parts of Ghana’s 2019 kindergarten curriculum, which teachers are still becoming accustomed to. She made sure teachers knew precisely how to make resources, how to use them, when to use them, and how they match the government’s daily plan for kindergarten education.
3. Ruth Abakah was our specialist in matching classroom wall displays to the curriculum. She helped teachers to see the specific value and use of each display and how it enriches the learning environment. This means that now the teachers have put their new displays on their classroom walls, the children are both enjoying them and learning from them.
4. Sabina Awortwe was our expert in linking the ideas of educational philosophers on how young children learn to the classroom practices that Foundation First promotes. Sabina was also highly skilled in linking the values, attitudes, professional knowledge and professional practice that the government expects teachers to have with Ghana’s national curriculum.
5. And last but not least, Dr Godwin Agbavor specialised in convincing teachers that they, along with all of us, have a lot to learn from neuroscience about how to create nurturing environments for young children. As the Foundation First team leader, Godwin also specialised in nurturing and supporting the rest of the team, thereby enabling them to individually and collectively deliver excellent teacher education workshops.
At the end of the two workshops, teachers were able to clearly outline their learning and how they were going to put it into practice.
Our thank yous
Thank you from the rest of the Foundation First team to Araba, Bibi, Ruth, Sabina and Godwin for delivering these successful workshops.
Thank you too to the Edify Ghana team, especially Dorcas Aidoo and Florentine Ansah Asare, for the tremendous support you provided, thereby significantly contributing to the success.
And thank you to Edify’s partner schools in Greater Accra and Koforidua for so wholeheartedly taking part in the workshops and for having already shared with the Edify Ghana team and with us plenty of evidence as to how you have put new ideas into practice.
A joint Foundation First and Edify team discover the extent of the current challenge of transforming classrooms during our recent baselining of Edify partner schools
As Ghana’s schools reopened after almost ten months of closure, Foundation First and Edify staff visited thirty schools to baseline their current performance. The data gathered will guide our training for the schools and help us provide them with bespoke assistance that is responsive to each school’s unique requirements.
Here are the key findings on how COVID-19 has adversely affected these schools:
Most of them have had to combine Kindergarten (KG) 1 and KG 2 children in one classroom, which is far from ideal
Re-enrolment of children has been slow-paced since they reopened
In many schools, the previous KG teachers have not returned since their reopening, and so new teachers have been hired/are being hired
Most of these new teachers are senior school certificate holders, but they lack teaching qualifications
As Literacy Education Specialist, Adwoa Nyantekyiwaa, one of our Edify colleagues, put it, “The baseline activity offered us a wonderful opportunity to know the needs of the partner schools with regards to the kind of teacher support and development that should be given to the KG teachers.” Adwoa and the rest of the baselining team concluded that all schools visited are in dire need of our training and coaching support. The need is greater in the twenty schools we visited in Koforidua in the Eastern Region of Ghana than in the ten schools we visited in Greater Accra.
Foundation First’s role in supporting Edify Ghana
This is the fourth time that we have joined forces with the Edify Ghana team to deliver their classroom management training (CMT) programme. The programme aims to transform the classroom management practices of kindergarten teachers and enable them to adopt activity-based methods of teaching in order to improve pupil learning. Having completed the baselining, we will be delivering the CMT for these schools later this month (February). After that, in mid March, we and our Edify partners will visit the schools to monitor and coach the teachers.
We are revising our plans for this round of training to take into account that, due to the effects of COVID–19, the results of the baseline differed markedly from the results of previous baselines. Edify’s COVID–19 Recovery Plan focuses on three aspects: their partner schools’ financial stability, the health and safety of their students and staff, and their pupils’ learning. In delivering this latest CMT programme, we will be supporting Edify Ghana with the second and third aspects of their Recovery Plan.
We are looking forward to Thursday 11 February when the training begins and we are confident that the schools are too. Bawa John, Headteacher of Christ Reminders Academy, told us, “My expectation about the upcoming training is that the participants will gain more knowledge about how to manage their classrooms effectively, especially during this Covid–19 era.”
Our CEO, Dr Godwin Kojo Agbavor, reflects on recent visits to schools in Sekondi-Takoradi and highlights the forthcoming delivery of training in the Eastern Region and in Greater Accra, in partnership with Edify Ghana.
On Monday 18th January, nursery, kindergarten and primary schools in Ghana reopened after an almost ten-month break. Our core team in Ghana (Sabina, Brou and myself) were anxious to get back into classrooms as soon as possible, but we waited a couple of days for staff and children to settle back into some sort of routine. Then, on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st January we visited the schools where our master trainers are practising teachers.
As our pool of master trainers now consists of lower primary teachers as well as our original pre-school teachers, we were able to see something of what is currently going on at all levels of schooling from nursery up to the third year of primary (i.e. in classrooms catering for children between the ages of two and nine). We saw firsthand how experiences are varying, as some of our master trainers teach in government schools while others teach in low-fee-paying private schools, and some teach in rural settings while others teach in urban settings. Our assessment is that all schools are striving, but that government and rural schools are in particular need of support to return to normal operations.
We were pleased to discover that most previously enrolled children had returned to school (unlike, sadly, some of their older siblings, due to such things as pregnancy, travel or having prematurely become wage-earners through learning a trade during lockdown) and most children seemed happy to be back and learning with their teachers again. We also discovered that the schools had made a good effort to provide a safe environment. For example, veronica buckets were placed at various positions to encourage regular handwashing and some teachers were constantly reminding children to wash their hands. Apparently, the government had provided sufficient sanitisers and liquid soap to enable frequent hand washing. Teachers and many children in some of the schools were wearing face masks, but in other schools few children were wearing them. We were told this was because the government hadn’t provided them. We could see that, for the most part, children had been sensitised about the COVID protocols they were expected to follow and that (except for the youngest ones) they had some awareness of how to avoid contracting COVID and why they should do so.
Despite some positives, it was clear that the schools are facing many challenges as a result of being closed for so long. Generally speaking, children had forgotten much of the content of their previous learning as well as how best to go about the actual process of learning. At KG level, for instance, we were told that children who were previously able to write their names had now forgotten how to do so and that those who had been used to picking up and reading story books by themselves had forgotten about such things. However, the good news is that, in just three to four days, some of the teachers had started to see improvements. They did mention, however, that they needed to be extra patient with the children to achieve such improvements and we fear that many teachers may not have the same level of patience.
Unsurprisingly, we observed that both teachers and children (especially younger children) were having difficulty observing social distancing. This has got us thinking about how best we can help teachers with this issue. One thing we’ve realised is that social distancing complements the government’s insistence that outdoor learning is a critical part of the curriculum, especially at preschool level. We will also be helped in our promotion of outdoor learning by the fact that fresh air reduces transmission of COVID.
Some teachers told us that some of their teaching and learning resources were in a sorry state or had gone missing, so needed replacing. Unfortunately for one school, thieves had broken in and helped themselves to furniture, giving the head teacher and one of our master trainers a headache and lots of extra work.
Something that Sabina, Brou and I were particularly conscious of was how teachers were still struggling to get their classrooms back to normal – or to a new normal. We couldn’t help reflecting that, faced with a similar scenario in the future, it would be better if the government stipulated that school staff should spend a week setting up their schools before the children returned. Some teachers told us that, for some time to come, they will have to put in a good deal of extra time at the end of the school day to make new resources. Our concern is for all those teachers that we have yet to work with – and the children in their care – who are not as committed as these teachers.
We met with the head teachers at the schools to find out how they are adjusting to the reopening of their schools and to reaffirm our relationship with them. They were very welcoming, were happy to talk to us, and wanted updates on Foundation First’s plans for 2021. We are delighted and grateful that they value the work of Foundation First and we appreciate the major part that their teachers, who are also our master trainers, play in our success.
It was highly beneficial for us to discover some of the challenges the schools are facing, especially as in early February we are delivering classroom management training with our partner, Edify, in selected Edify schools in the Eastern Region of Ghana and in Greater Accra. In fact, six of us are spending this last week of January in one or the other of these two locations with our Edify partners to conduct a baseline analysis and needs analysis at the schools whose staff we will be delivering the training to in February. Our findings from our recent school visits helped prepare us for this baseline stage and will help us in preparing for the training stage in February.
I want to acknowledge here our fantastic and hard working partner schools and master trainers for opening up and sharing their challenges with us. Our first day of school visits began at the naval-base cluster of schools in Takoradi, where our master trainers Esther Boateman and Ami Shaidda teach. We moved onto the Queen Elizabeth II Early Childhood Learning Centre, where our colleague Araba Brakoa-Amoah teaches, and finally we went to Amenano District Kindergarten School, where our veteran master trainers Ruth Abakah and Bibi Kolevi teach. On our second day of visits, we went to Precious ELAN Preparatory School, where our colleague Rita Frimpong teaches, and Sarkis Foundation School, where Anita Aidoo teaches. FF will be doing all that we can to support these education champions in the coming months.