In our second day in Gambia we joined two different pre-schools, in Busumbala and in Brufut, and got to see what their school days look like.
From the day one we noticed how much Gambian children sing in schools. And they love it. Singing and dancing are present in every teaching lesson. For example, today when our students taught dental hygieny to children, they already had a song about teeth brushing. The same way, the alphabet, weekdays and body parts are taught through songs.
What we have learned so far, you need to keep things simple and concrete. Among singing and games, repetition is also used to support learning. In the two schools we have visited, the teaching methods are somewhat similar. In the other one, singing was used all the time, in the other one, just some of the time.
Because we don’t have a common language with the children (who normally use their own tribal languages and have only started to learn English ), singing, dancing and simple language and repetition are our main ways to teach the kids. Concrete methods and participation are also important: instead of just talking, you can show them and let them do things themselves.
Working with these children is rewarding and fun, but we also have a lot to learn how to interact with them and support their learning. Luckily, our two-week-stay in Gambia has only begun.
Regards, Venla and Tuulikki