We agree with this but might change it slightly to: “…let them learn through play…”
EduGate is a one year preschool teachers’ training course based on Hawane Farm, where students are shown how to teach preschoolers using creative ways of learning through play.
EduGate’s heart is to empower and equip individuals from under privileged and rural areas of Swaziland; by providing excellent training and skills for them to become outstanding preschool teachers. This will enable them to establish a good academic foundation for Swazi children.
The cost of teaching materials for preschools is high and so we teach our students to use the things around them. Stones are used for counting in math as well as things like sticks, matchboxes & bottles tops. The students are able to join in the fun of learning by thinking of ways to teach children using whatever they have available to them. Many of the students never learned how to be creative and play as children. So this is a very important and a very fun part of their journey to becoming effective preschool teachers. There is a lot of laughter that comes out of the classroom when the students are learning a new way of teaching children through play, a song or a game. In preschools throughout Swaziland these joy-filled songs and games can be heard being sung and played by the children who have an EduGate qualified teacher.
Part of the students’ training is how to recognise and understand children with special needs and disabilities. Some students discover that this is an area they have a particular passion for and would like to study further to help children who would otherwise be excluded or neglected. You can recognise which of the students have a calling in this area of education, as they are instantly drawn to children with special needs and their faces light up when they talk about helping them. We also see how the children respond well to them and bonds of mutual trust are quickly formed.
Most of our graduates will be starting preschools in rural and under privileged areas that have high rates of orphan -led families and unemployment, so the income from running a preschool will often be limited. We therefore train our students that money does not have to get in the way of their passion to teach the children in their community. Discovering creative ways to educate young children teaches them not to settle and not to give up when they do not have the material means to buy teaching materials.
Every year we see students grow and blossom not just as preschool teachers but in their personal lives as well. Throughout their time with us they are mentored, encouraged and discipled to be whole in every area of their lives, so that they can leave changed, equipped, envisioned and ready to bring transformation to rural areas through education.