Raising Indigenous Intellectualism in Early Childhood Through Agricultural Education in Ethiopia
Title: Raising Indigenous Intellectualism in Early Childhood through Agricultural Education in Ethiopia
Title: Raising Indigenous Intellectualism in Early Childhood through Agricultural Education in Ethiopia
Adversity occurs in childhood through many ways. It can range from war, loss of a family member, abuse, neglect, resource scarcity to name a few. For many children, these unwanted experiences create barriers causing severe developmental disruption which later translate into a list of health concerns. Currently, children in Ethiopia continue to experience trauma from war, displacement, and acts of violence that are difficult for them to understand. Such trauma leaves children with fear, distrust, and anxiousness beyond their control. This affects children behavior, disposition and can augment their developmental trajectory negatively.
The assaultive nature of trauma can be detrimental to the developing brain but we also know employing strategies found in Trauma-Informed Care can influence, restructure and help children process these undesirable, even damaging episodes, to be more manageable; assisting the young mind in creating pathways that informs rather than compromising it permanently. By intervening early and applying therapeutic measures consistently, we can reduce the devastation on children’s developmental outcomes. Using strategies found in Trauma-Informed Care has shown to have both immediate and long-term positive results.
Applying developmentally appropriate strategies that are respectful in approach and culturally relevant to the child’s norm, practitioners, parents, caregivers, and teachers can help children open up, discuss and express their feelings. Using a medium such as play, art, and other activities that are comfortable to the children, the path towards recovery can begin. The brain is most sensitive, highly malleable before age 5, and even more adaptable during infancy and toddlerhood (before age 3). Our knowledge of trauma-informed care practices should be included in discussions about rehabilitation, emergency support, and relocation of those affected by the current war, COVID, public health crisis or other ongoing challenges in the context of Ethiopia. For those under extreme and ongoing stress, preparing professionals on how to create responsive caregiving practices using the frameworks provided in TIC in conjunction with our cultural norms will help children and families develop skills to mitigate and absolve some of the trauma incurred abruptly or due to persistent inequities.
Part of Early Childhood Education Ethiopia’s mission and vision is to improve existing pre-primary learning environments. With Project Alpha, we will lay the foundation on how to implement progressive and generational long lasting early learning environments. In phase one, we will start the process of studying, renovating, and improving two programs. One located in the city of Addis Ababa, and the other, outside Bahir Dar, representing the rural site. Over the next several months, we will be looking into environments, pedagogical approaches, children’s learning patterns, and comprehensively assess the progress of these two early education sites.. We know parents are our partners in children’s education, and know their participation plays an influential role in all areas of children’s development and educational outcome. As such, we will develop and strengthen our interaction, communication and encourage involvement in all aspects and at every step of the way. The picture above represents thegateway to the future. Children grow and develop using both nature, passed down from their parents, and nurture what they receive from the environment. The environment matters greatly in shaping how children learn, think and understand the world. The first five years is critical partly because the brain is actively involved with what the child sees, touches, tastes, recording and interpreting this information into knowledge. We want to ensure we provide children with meaningful experiences, to equip them with a wide range of tools to use for the rest of their lives. Therefore, a major part of Early Childhood Education Ethiopia will be paying close attention to the environment children come from and enter to learn and play.
Changing the Early Learning Landscape
Early Education’s effectiveness is often examined from a kindergarten readiness standpoint. But the years and grades (toddlers-pre-k) or (KG 1-3) defined in pre-primary education requires contextual attention. What children begin to understand at 2 years of age, can be built on at age 4 with more rigor, expanding on existing knowledge and challenging the growing mind. In addition, while learning happens both inside and outside the classroom, we know the outdoors provides the optimal space for the imagination to grow and develop.
Updates from Early Childhood Education Ethiopia
Fundraiser: In December, we participated in the GivingTuesday campaign, securing approximately 13K donations. We are filled with gratitude for the support, encouragement and kindness everyone continues to show our organization. The board fully understands the challenges and uncertainties, we are, which makes the current contribution that much more meaningful as it highlights the gentleness that still exists in this world. Your donation will directly go to Project Alpha supporting the schools mentioned above. As we progress with this phase, we will be updating you with news through future newsletters and on our social media platforms.
February Symposium: We are currently working on finalizing a collaborative online seminar focused on bringing attention to children’s education, care and policy in Ethiopia. The future begins with what we do with children today. This seminar aims to bring awareness on current policies and practices, ways to invest in children and how using unifying agendas are important to the direction of early childhood education and Ethiopia.
Volunteerism, Partnership and Collaboration: Since inception, ECEE has received numerous requests for collaboration, volunteerism and partnership. As a young organization with a broad vision and mission, we know our partnership with agencies, institutions and individuals are important as we move forward. We have started a database and currently taking in information from all individuals and organizations seeking partnership. Please note if you have contacted us in the past, you have been added to our list. New inquiries, please visit our site for further information.
We thank you for your continued support!uncertainties, we
Children learn and understand their world using their senses. They manipulate experiences gathered as they interact with their surroundings (home, siblings, church, school) into information that will help them assimilate new concepts and accommodate complex ideas. Because there are variances in the depth and breadth of experiences children are offered, their knowledge or comprehension of how things function is diverse. Often, when children of the same age group are provided curricular activities such as spelling, basic arithmetic, and science projects, we see a range in the way they explain and express their thoughts over the new information. This is due to early experiences that influence strategies children use to comprehend new or advanced ideas resulting in the scientific explanation found in neurodiversity theory. Neurodiversity is displayed in children’s disposition which includes their emotional expression, information processing, comfort in physical proximity with others, social interaction, sensory preference, and much more. We mustn’t define neurodiversity as a deficit or delay but rather as strength and a tool for instructors especially in the pre-primary (early childhood programs), to use with adjusting instruction to be more student-centered rather than test or outcome-oriented.
We need to celebrate children’s diverse abilities, create programs and learning opportunities that connect the child to their environment, and move away from a one size fits all method. Neurodiversity enriches early education programs, assists children with deep imaginative capabilities to have a space in a classroom that appreciates their valuable contribution and provides a sense of belonging.
Dr. Jyotsna Pattnaik was awarded the ORSP multidisciplinary research grant along with three other faculty members from CSULB. The project titled “Improving STEM Education by Integrating Geospatial Technologies into K-8 Mathematics Curriculum”, is a research project with experts from Early Childhood Education, Mathematics Education, and Geospatial Science. The study will be applied in the Los Angeles area schools, adding to the emerging body of research related to science and math in the pre-primary-elementary education paradigm. We are proud that our very own Dr. Pattnaik is leading in STEM-related research that will impact the future here and around the world.
Dr. Charles Slater received the Outstanding Faculty Award, for his wide contributions in the area of Research, Creativity, and Scholarly Activity. Dr. Slater has supervised student dissertations with research projects focused on Social Justice, Equity, International Research to name a few. His experience and expertise is a valuable asset in guiding students throughout their doctoral dissertation journey and post scholarship engagement. Congratulations to Dr. Pattnaik and Dr. Slater!
Shortly after our organization set out to implement phase one- Project Alpha- in Ethiopia, the world shut down due to COVID-19. As we were all adjusting to our new normal, the death of George Floyd set out a historical precedence that ignited a global demonstration of the ongoing injustice Black people face here in the U.S and worldwide. In June, Ethiopia also experienced civil disturbance after a young musician-activist was killed causing unrest throughout the country. As we re-evaluate the way forward and renew our commitment to the mission and vision of Early Childhood Education Ethiopia, we are more clear, determined, and focused on attaining the goals set in our projects. We know the way forward is through children; this is the driving force behind what we do.
We thank you for your continued support!