Scaling the School Readiness Initiative: strengthening school and community capacities for adoption of play-based learning in Uganda and Zambia
While Uganda and Zambia have made significant gains in early-childhood development and education (ECDE) in recent years, they continue to face many challenges. Access to ECDE is limited, especially among marginalized and rural communities. Further, the ECDE work force lacks adequate knowledge, skills and attitudes to implement play-based approaches. Learning environments to facilitate play-based learning are lacking and coordination among key stakeholders such as parents, teachers, school administrators and communities needs to be improved.
The School Readiness Initiative (SRI) is an early-learning system that involves home, school and community to support holistic development of children and prepare them for a smooth transition to school. The SRI has been implemented in two provinces in Zambia and holds promise for promoting quality early-childhood education that prepares children to be ready for primary school, and schools to be ready for children to provide them an age-appropriate learning experience and environment.
This project will build on lessons learned from the SRI and strengthen it through wider stakeholder involvement. It will carry out a thorough review of play-based learning in the ECDE curriculum frameworks of Uganda and Zambia and design an enhanced learning framework for ECDE, including the identification and development of contextually relevant learning materials with the involvement of teachers, parents and children. School administrators, parents, teachers and ECDE teacher-educators will be trained on its implementation and data on implementation will be collected using action research, workshops, conferences, observations, interviews and reflective journal writing. The project will address issues of gender imbalance in the ECDE work force, in which women dominate despite having little or no formal training either as teachers or caregivers. The research team will work closely with officials from the ministries of education and regional, district and local community education officials in the two countries throughout the project period.
This project is one of the five projects selected through a Global Partnership for Education Knowledge and Innovation Exchange call for proposals for early learning in East, West and Southern Africa: Generating and mobilizing innovative knowledge for regional education challenges.