Recently I had the opportunity and privilege of spending a week travelling around Botswana with Early Childhood Development (ECD) trainer Gertrude, as we visited caregivers who, for the last 18 months, have been training through the Flying Mission ECD programme, Little Seeds.
These caregivers were working in a variety of settings teaching orphans, vulnerable, and disadvantaged children. Our travels took us to a centre for refugee children, a special-needs preschool, and a preschool for deaf children, among others.
As an early childhood teacher myself, I have been able to take part in delivering some of this training, and was also helping Gerti in her role of assessing the practice of those we have trained.
We were so encouraged to see some great teachers, with a real heart and passion for educating and caring for children. We could clearly see the positive impact these caregivers were having as they put what they had learned into practice.
Prior to training, many of these caregivers had little or no knowledge of early childhood development. For financial reasons, they and their learning centres were unlikely to afford up-skilling. Using untrained teachers to work with children who are already at risk can lead to gaps in their learning and development.
As much of the cost of the Little Seeds programme is donor funded, caregivers and early learning centres are able to access training through Flying Mission. Up-skilling increases the quality of care and education for these children and builds solid learning foundations in their lives. Equipped with training, teachers can implement a programme where young children are exposed to learning opportunities and experiences essential to creating confident and well developed learners.
Through donations of finances and equipment, Flying Mission has also been able to provide educational resources to some centres, assisting the learning and development of children attending these facilities. We are truly thankful for the generous support of those who donate finances and resources to us. You are helping us make a real impact in the lives of these orphans, disadvantaged and vulnerable children in Botswana.
Having successfully completed this year’s programme, 18 teachers will graduate in November, receiving a National Certificate Early Childhood Education. While this is just a small number of caregivers; each can make a significant difference in the lives of so many children.