In our last newsletter, we shared about a new opportunity – to help develop a curriculum for an ECE (Early Childhood Education) program in two schools. The first step was to hold a workshop for ECE in a Kwaio-speaking area on Malaita Island. The venue for the workshop was a beautiful Catholic station where we were welcomed warmly by the Sisters of Charity.
This ECE project is under the direction of two local non-profit organisations, LASI (Literacy Association Solomon Islands) and COESI (Coalition for Education Solomon Islands). While we taught most of the workshop content, three trainers from LASI were observing, as they will be responsible for the ongoing training of teachers in the program.
The training included looking at principles of early childhood education and preparing a ‘cultural calendar’ for their community. This involves a process of thinking about weather patterns, seasons, growing seasons, etc. in the local community. The teachers then used that cultural calendar to choose weekly themes for the curriculum.
One of the next tasks will be to develop storybooks for the various themes. We have enlisted the help of the Kwaio Bible translator, David Fonosimae, to help translate some books into Kwaio, using the Bloom Library, which was developed by SIL International. You can look at the books that David has translated here: Bloom Library – Kwaio books. We are looking forward to adding more books to the Bloom Library.
In early 2022, we plan on going back to Malaita for a writers’ workshop where the teachers will write original stories to coordinate with the curriculum.
The teachers left the workshop excited about the things they learned. Their village community will be working on building a classroom for the many small children who will benefit from this new program.