this from Dianne, just back from working with the NCPs in Swaziland:
I would like to introduce you to three teachers from the Neighbourhood Care Points we support in Swaziland, working hard to give pre-school children the knowledge and skills they need to give them a good start at school. These teachers receive a small allowance but not a full salary – they work more or less as volunteers because they genuinely care about the children in their care.
Teacher Mgazi has been working at Mlindazwe NCP since 2009.
She has had no formal training as a teacher other than a few workshops, but she has always tried to put into practice any ideas given to her about how to teach young children. When she was first taught something about phonics and shown how to sound out the letters in a word this was a revelation to her, and she still teaches her children to sound out the letters of the alphabet even though this is not a teaching method in common use in Swaziland. Over the last two years she has learned various techniques for teaching children through play, and she now has the confidence to include topics of her own into the curriculum rather than simply relying on the materials given to her.
This is Teacher Zodwa from Ekuzukekeni NCP. She lives in the village very near to the NCP and has worked there for more than five years. At first she was one of the cooking ladies, but when the previous teacher sadly died Zodwa stepped in to become the new teacher. She loves the children and is an enthusiastic teacher, although like the others she has had no formal training. Zodwa loves to sing and dance – she has recently been on a music and movement course and now her children know so many songs and actions!
Teacher Gugu has been the teacher at Ezulwini NCP since 2010.
She has always cared greatly about her pupils and wanted to do her best for them but did not have a lot of confidence and preferred not to have other people in her classroom. Now her attitude could not be more different. In a recent interview she told me (in her own words):
“When I started I was going away from the white people, but practice makes perfect because now the volunteers come and now I learn more English so I help my children more. So now my children are very good, they are speaking English, they are very good at writing, I am excited about my students.”