Teaching & Learning in Swaziland

Last week more than 25 preschool teachers, teaching assistants, and officers from Swaziland’s Ministry of Education and Training joined together to participate in a teacher training designed to better support the teachers, the children and the communities at large.

This was part two of a project that HHI is collaborating on with World Education’s Bantwana Initiative.  During part one, we all met and spent a week in May working on the design of what was most relevant and useful to support preschool teachers.  That led to the creation of a brand new workbook for the teachers, that was thick with a wide variety of useful information and that fit snugly together with some of the great materials already created by the Ministry.

Together with the Early Childhood Care and Education Inspector from Lubombo, I led a training on the new materials and on overarching principles and practices of teaching preschool age children, much of which involves supporting children to play, explore and experiment.  Our time together was action packed, as we talked about how to organize the indoor and outdoor areas for learning, how to use themes, creating routines, the different types of play and so much more!  We all worked together in large and small groups, reviewing all the new materials and practicing how to teach and interact with the preschoolers in the classrooms.

This was a new project for HHI to be involved with and I must say, it was really fun!  Here are some of the quotes from our preschool teacher participants on what they thought of the experience:

  •  “it was perfect”  “it was good, it had plenty of illustrations on teaching children. I now feel confident.”
  • “Now I will always make a lesson plan to make my work easy, I learned that I must be prepared.”
  • “It was great! I’ve been longing for something formal that I can use at the center. With this new material I think we will go a long way with it as teachers there will be a great change because we now have a strong tool with themes.”
  • “I feel very confident because if I get confused I can refer to the book for a solution.”
  • “I think Laura has to come back.  Laura was very, very good.”
  • “I feel confident because of the new materials, they are useful to me and I got some tips, as like a teachers you must involve your students to your lessons and be creative.”
  • “I think the new materials will improve our student education.”
  • “Now I will have improved preparation and classroom arrangement.”

I hope HHI does get to go back and help take this new training to the next level.  Many thanks to our amazing colleagues at the Bantwana Initiative, and the Ministry of Education and Training.

And, one of my favorite parts of this whole experience? This is how we started everyday of the training – close your eyes and let this transport you to the heart and soul of Swaziland!