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Today, we celebrate International Literacy Day in the Copperbelt Province.  VVOB joins the provincial education team and other stakeholders in this event.  ‘Reading the past, writing the future’, is the motto for this year’s celebrations.

“Literacy skills start to develop in early childhood, and we want to create more awareness on the importance of early childhood education amongst parents and stakeholders in our Province”, Elva explains to the Permanent Secretary of Copperbelt Province. 

Elva works as a zonal in-set coordinator for the Ministry of education.  With support of the ‘Quality Early Education in Community Schools’ (QEECS) project, the district and zonal coordinators of Kitwe and Ndola districts offer continuing professional development to the early childhood teachers. Since 2015, they have organised trainings, workshops and study visits. They have coached the teachers through school visits and through early childhood teacher group meetings.

“Many of our early childhood teachers in the community schools are untrained,” Elva continues.  “We have helped them to adjust their teaching, so that the children can learn through play.  The literacy skills that we aim to develop at that age include listening, speaking, pre-reading and pre-writing skills.  This will help the children to pick up reading and writing easily when they go to grade one.  With technical support of the QEECS project, we developed a manual and starter packs on low cost learning materials for young children.  All the early childhood teachers in the two districts received a starter pack, which includes examples of low cost learning materials, and basic art and craft supplies. These have helped to set them on their way.  Our teachers are making visible progress in what they teach and how they teach it. Many now use play-based learning materials that they have made with low cost materials.”

Elva has brought three community school teachers from her zone to the International Literacy Day celebrations.  They have brought some of their materials, and explain how they use them to people visiting their stand.   “We want parents to know that early childhood education is important, and we want them to understand that their children develop important skills.  Whilst they are playing, they are hard at work at the same time.” says Sara Sasa, the early childhood teacher of Twikatane Community School. 

The QEECS project is co-funded by the European Union and the Belgian Government and is implemented by VVOB and Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS).