“The children feel so proud!”
Pelagie is describing the difference made by the reconstruction of the Early Childhood Care and Development centre in south-west Rwanda where she works.
Last year, the centre was in a temporary building. 100 children were cramped in a single room with little light and barely any resources.
More sociable – and more comfortable
It has been transformed. There are now two large, brightly-coloured classrooms with child-sized chairs and round tables.
“It is much more sociable,” says Pelagie. “Children work together and help each other.”
“We can divide easily into groups for activities, interaction is easier, and the children feel physically more comfortable than when they were on benches or on the floor”.
Games and activities
“The chairs and tables are a teaching resource in themselves,” says Pelagie, smiling. “Children love to sort the chairs by colours and we can just invent games and activities as we go along.”
“The children’s attendance has improved because every day they feel happy and motivated to sit in chairs like big people.”
Excited to learn
The improved facilities have clearly had the effect of making the ECCD centre a positive and dynamic place where children and adults alike feel motivated.
Parents in the community are very impressed by the conditions here, and the centre is oversubscribed by about thirty children.
Punctuality has also improved. Pelagie laughs as she says that some children even come in early to make sure they sit on a chair of their favourite colour.
Pelagie feels extremely positive about the transformation.
“Children are more active here, ” she says. “They feel excited to learn and we feel excited that we’re in a better position to help them learn.
“When they are so young we have to make things fun!”