“ I was reluctant to do lesson plans, I felt it was so burdensome because we were never trained or supported on the process, but now I am excited and not afraid to do it” Kenubish Jenberu (March 2022). Kenubish represents a large number of early education professionals with years of experience in the preschool classroom that is unmatched, profoundly instructive and an asset to the learning environment. Kenubish uses songs, repetitions, and deep care for who children are to teach her students. Children learn best when first and foremost, the teacher is fully invested in who they are and uses their background knowledge to build their heart before expanding the mind.
Kenubish is one of the KG1 or preschool teachers at Shimbit Elementary School in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, where Early Childhood Education Ethiopia launched its first phase, project alpha. The true mark of a teacher is their willingness to always learn, that a classroom is a place where knowledge freely flows from child to teacher and teacher to child. During the third session of training where there was a practical lesson planning exercise and group work provided by ECEE, Kenubish presented her lesson plan, fully informed by the environment, children’s interests, and her strength as a teacher. We can only improve children’s early education when we also invest in the knowledge-base of teachers. We look forward to learning from teachers like kenubish, while we provide training and professional development.
Strengthening the Teacher’s Role
At the beginning of the year, Early Childhood Education Ethiopia began providing training on various topics and subjects. Our continued focus and commitment to Shimbit Elementary School KG program provided the platform for collaborative lesson planning training with teachers. Our discussion started by engaging all stakeholders which included teachers, school administrators, trainers, support staff, area district supervisors, and representatives from the local education bureau. The candid conversation on the challenges related to resources, compensation, gaps in training, education opportunities, private vs public early education center, o-class, absence of teaching manuals, the readiness-focused curriculum designed for output rather comprehension was informative on many levels.
Starting with the existing methods employed by the program to advise lesson plans, we discussed ways to enhance the learning. Central to lesson planning is understanding children’s interests, likes, and wants through observation. Teachers were able to use their outside learning environment, critically reflect on the current methods of lesson planning and integrate the strategies introduced by ECEE on how to design lesson plans that are child-focused and begin with what is around them.
Building on Existing Asset
Teachers bring to the classroom a wealth of knowledge most of it gained from experience. Training approaches that are built leveraging this knowledge often yield a meaningful result. The KG teachers at Shimbit Elementary school, are now employing a variety of modalities to deliver lessons. We encouraged teachers to observe as much as possible, apply what was assigned to them, and implement the Early Childhood Education Ethiopia lesson planning methods, they brainstormed, embraced, shared with peers and they look forward to learning more.
Pictures from ECEE’s Lesson Planning Training
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