With the modest funding from the Defending Early Years (DEY-Mini Grant Initiative) in September, 2020, Mercy Youth Initiative (a community-based, child development focused organization implementing quality early childhood and youth enrichment education and training programs in the HIV/AIDS ravaged community of Mbita in the shores of lake Victoria, Kenya through Hope School) hosted an induction training workshop for twenty (20) headteachers in charge of Early Childhood Education (ECDE). Headteachers were drawn from 20 schools in Mbita West Zone, Mbita Sub County, Homa Bay County, Kenya.
The meeting provided an excellent opportunity for reaching out to teachers and encourage them to continue with the good work of nurturing young children potentials. The headteachers discussed the importance of play in early year’s education. A total of 20 schools in the zone were involved in the headteachers workshop held on 12th October, 2020 in Mbita, Kenya.
- Unfortunately, the importance of play in early childhood education programming is often undervalued in favor of direct instruction. Embedding play into curriculum is often underlooked though quite important, as it is a healthy part of childhood development. Play can have a large impact on development in many areas, including social skills, language skills, and cognitive development.
A raft of recommendations was reached as follows:
- A follow-up meeting aimed at bringing School Managers, Directors, School Board of Management Committee Chairpersons, and Academic Supervisors be held before February, 2021 in order to develop an implementation strategy and timelines for adopting play as essential part of learning in the local schools on a phased option.
- An inter-school play – based education forum be established and Hope School to serve as a host for 2 years.
- Initiation of 3 play clubs for school going children is established in 3 local schools.
- Early Years Education (EYE) be trained through one day inter-schools visit forums on Anti-non-age assessment clubs are formed and operational, play based curriculum delivery materials and information are accessible to in school youths.
- A computer resource center be established in the at Hope School to enable EYE teachers access audio-visual and play-based materials shared in CDs, USB disks and print-outs for sharing.
- Develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges”.
- The challenge to integrate play into education is enormous, but so are the potential benefits. With technology, the meeting agreed that teachers can deploy low-end technologies like radio, mobile phones, radio and TV lessons to help children adapt to play-based learning as the medium to use to learn about the world and society. Through play, their social and cognitive needs can be met and developed. Play is the way that children interact with this world and create experiences to understand society and human interaction.