The Play Schemes give pre-school children the chance to gain information, ideas and skills in a stimulating and caring environment. Teaching is discovery-based & in small groups. The educational games are designed to encourage the children to think creatively, to solve problems and to question. As they are fun the children do not even realise they are learning.
The play stations
All Play Schemes are arranged into 5 indoor "play stations" & an outdoor station covering different skill-sets that develop childrens' intellectual, language and socio-emotional skills leading to improved school-readiness.
Each play station is run by one Volunteer Mother. Children are divided into small groups (maximum 6) and rotate around the play stations so they have the opportunity to participate in all types of activities.
Senses & sizesTo stimulate senses and help children to recognise colours, sizes and shapes
MatchingTo help pattern & shape recognition, basic literacy, memory & concentration
Numbers/countingTo help children learn to count, recognise numbers and gain basic arithmetical skills
BuildingTo develop imagination, problem solving and fine motor skills
Story-tellingTo foster an interest in reading, stimulate imagination and build literacy skills
Outdoor gamesTo improve physical strength, socio-emotional and communication skills.
Volunteerism: Between 30-50 Volunteer Mothers run the Scheme in shifts throughout the week. There are 6-10 Volunteers and up to 40 children per shift, with each shift lasting for 2 hours. This arrangement allows us to 160 children to attend for free per week.
Play-based & interactive teaching based on fun not fear: The Scheme is arranged into 6 play stations, which the children rotate around. Teaching uses participatory, child-led, turn-taking methods, rather than the rote-methods which are the norm in formal settings.
Working cooperatively in small groups: 1 Mother and 5-6 children are allocated to each play station (compared to typical pupil-teacher ratios of over 1:50). The remaining children & Mothers participate in outdoor games to strengthen physical development, social skills, & listening to instructions and cultivate an interest in local culture.
Using locally-made resources: The Scheme takes place in the school Kindergarten classroom (Ghana) and in any basic community building (in Uganda). This avoids the need for construction costs. Each Scheme is given a starter pack of games (including bottletop counters, cardboard puzzles, dominoes, sorting games, wooden blocks/shape sorters), but Mothers are trained make their own games.
Incorporation of health/hygiene: At the start of each Play Scheme Session, children have to handwash with soap/ash to habituate them to this practice. Mothers are given on-going training on health issues.