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Trust tutors teachers to unlock children’s creativity

A UK charity which trains nursery school teachers in sub-Saharan African countries soon to launch new projects in Botswana and Uganda. Perivoli Schools Trust has already trained over 10,000 nursery teachers over the past 7 years across Namibia, Malawi, and Zambia. Now the charity is aiming to train 200,000 more teachers across 9 countries over the coming decades.

The teachers are trained in how to educate children through engaging play activities. This model of teaching works in sub-Saharan Africa as it is scalable and can be used in any setting.

The work of the charity has already benefited 250,000 pre-school age children, with the eventual target being 5 million. The teachers are shown how to use things like yoghurt cartons, bottle tops, and loo rolls to create stimulating activities from a toy shop to dressing-up corners.

James Alexandroff, founder of Perivoli Schools Trust commented:

I describe it as Blue Peter on steroids. We employ trainers to show the nursery school teachers how to make games and educational activities out of recyclable waste materials. They tend to have no money or training themselves, so this helps them to create play activities at no cost.

The trust employs almost 200 trainers who deliver 16 modules of training for up to 25 nursery teachers at a time over a two year period. The trainers run support groups, where teachers can exchange ideas for games, and also visit them multiple times during their first year teaching to help with implementation of the programme.

At the end of the course, the nursery teachers are awarded a Perivoli Certificate in a graduation ceremony which formally recognises their achievements.

Alexandroff added:

The core aim of the Perivoli Schools Trust programme is to address very high dropout rates that children face once they reach state-funded primary school. Children who are not stimulated through play in their early years find it very hard to cope with formal education when they reach primary school.

It is especially challenging for girls, who tend to fall pregnant once they reach puberty at 13 or 14 if they struggle at school. Studies show that a girl who can read has two children on average, whereas a girl who can’t has five. Our goal is to get the girls to read before they leave nursery school.

I have made over a hundred visits to nursery schools across the region, and based on what I’m seeing I have no doubt that the programme makes a huge difference to the lives of the teachers and the children. It’s very uplifting to see the way in which it unlocks their creativity.

To find out more about Perivoli Schools Trust: