Through the LITLE programme, VVOB Zambia supports both pre- and in-service early childhood teacher development. This programme is coming to a close at the end of this year. Observing good early childhood education (ECE)-practices in real classroom settings, offers highly effective support to the professional development of student teachers and teachers. For that reason, the programme embarked on a process to develop skills of selected ECE-ambassadors around the country. These ambassadors can continue to play an important role in supporting the growth of Zambian ECE teachers and teachers-to-be, even after the programme has ended.
Scouting for candidate ambassador-teachers happened early this year. All demo-class teachers of the 7 public teacher education colleges that offer the early childhood education diploma course, were taken on board. In addition, to add to the sustainability, 1 ECE teaching practice school teacher near each college was selected. This teacher will be a mentor of student teachers who do their teaching practice at the school.
With support from VVOB this rather select group of ambassadors embarked on a trajectory to further develop their skills.
The first workshop uniting these ECE-enthusiasts took place in May 2016. The workshop focused on creating an active learning environment with several educational corners, making use of locally available resources. As a peer group, the teachers have been keeping in touch, inspiring each other through participation in a WhatsApp group.
Subsequently all the participating teachers were observed and coached by a VVOB technical advisor in their classrooms. Several of the teachers report that their learners are happier since they get to work independently in educational corners. At this stage the district coordinators of the Ministry were invited along so they can also use the ambassadors' classes as examples for other teachers in the district.
At the end of October, the ambassador-teachers gathered one last time, for a workshop of six days. They focused, amongst others, on needs that arose from the classroom observations:
- Pre-mathematics, more specifically puzzling and constructing
- Positive classroom management strategies,
- Child observation to inform teaching,
- Storytelling, small world play and composing music with young children
In addition, the ambassadors received learning materials to use in their classes including story books, wooden building blocks, skipping ropes, balls and art and craft material to make teaching and learning aids.
All the participating teachers were proud to receive their VVOB certificate. They are now set to take up their ECE-ambassador roles across the country. VVOB wishes them the very best!