Education in Our Homes: Toddlers’ Spotlight

Education in Our Homes: Toddlers’ Spotlight

“The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”  

– Proverbs 18:15 

At Children of Hope, our goal is to provide our children with a loving home and nurturing environment to help them accomplish their dreams and reach their full potential in life. Throughout their time in our homes, we have been intentional about helping the children develop their personal interests and passions, and learn life skills that will help them transition into adult life. When the children join our Kitalale and Kikuyu families, we make it a point to have a routine in place for them that allows them the opportunity to grow personally, spiritually, and academically. 

This month, we have the opportunity to celebrate and highlight six of our precious toddlers in the Kikuyu Home who have made great strides and hit major developmental milestones. Our toddlers are starting preschool. It is an exciting time for the children and their caregivers in our homes as they prepare for this new chapter of the toddlers’ lives. 

The home is delighted to see the children hit such an important milestone in their lives by starting preschool but sad about not getting to spend all day with them at the home. The aunties  were always on their toes, running after the children as they took part in a variety of activities throughout the day. Now, the home is quieter during the day. It feels like just yesterday when they entered our homes – how time flies! 

Toddlers Starting Preschool

From left to right: Jonathan, Nymbura. Zawadi, Elaine, and Jessie ready for their first day of preschool

Elaine, Nymbura, Zawadi, Jonathan, and Jesse from our Kikuyu home started school in May, while Joshua, also from our Kikuyu home started school this month. The children love riding the bus to school every day, and find themselves having a restful nap on the way back home. They are adjusting well to their new school environment – they’re making lots of new friends and learning new things such as the alphabet, types of animals, counting from 1 to 10, drawing, painting and coloring, and other language skills. 

A typical weekday morning for the toddlers includes waking up at 6 am, putting on their school uniforms, having breakfast, and then boarding the bus around 6:40 am. Once at school, they start off the day with a morning assembly, and then go to their respective classes until noon, with 10-minute breaks every two hours, along with recess from 10:00 am to 10:30 am. The afternoon involves lunch for an hour, followed by nap time from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. Then the children are free to do homework and head home for the day.

Since the school schedule is very different from what the children were used to at home, the initial adjustment was a bit of a process for everyone. The winters are cold in Kenya, and waking up at 6 am was challenging for the children. Now, as they’re settling into school, they’re used to their new routine and are excited to go to school every day and meet their friends. 

The staff and caregivers are equally delighted to watch the children adjust to their new environments so well. When asked about how they feel, this is what they had to say…

“Jessie has become more inquisitive and is no longer as timid as he was before he started school. He has learnt the new routine and knows where to put his school bag, shoes or books when he comes back home from school,” says Aunt Peninah from the Milele House in Kikuyu. 

She went on to explain that “Baby Elaine has learned to put on clothes, especially her favorite being the school uniform. She enjoys numbers and can count from number 1 to 10.” 

Aunt Damaris from Amanu House spoke highly of Johnathan. She said, “Johnathan has learned how to open up more and make new friends at school. He’s become more confident and asks so many questions. He loves his bus rides to school. 

“Natasha has shown to be keen as seen from the way she does her homework; she is very choosy and sensitive, school has made her more responsible; she takes lead while doing homework and is very organized,” said Aunt Damaris. 

Aunt Damaris went on to say, “Zawadi has learnt new songs and made new friends. She loves school and enjoys bus rides too.”

Uncle Samson, the Administrative Social Worker at our Kikuyu home, said, “seeing the babies grow and finally start school is such a blessing. We are thrilled for these milestones and this reminds us that our love and care goes a long way in making the children achieve their potential. 

Just like the Kikuyu home staff, our hearts are full of joy as we watch our children make such great progress in the new school environment. 

Education System in Kenya 

Toddlers enjoying playtime in the earlier months.

Kenya’s education system is currently undergoing a major change in curriculum. The old system, which focused more on cognitive development and has been in place for over 32 years, is being replaced by a Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC). The CBC focuses on student competencies. 

The old system had rigid testing in place where children went through challenging exams at the end of each educational stage, for instance, after primary school and so on. The new education system is less rigid and emphasizes developing each child’s individual areas of strength and interests. Students get guidance from their teachers, and parents/caregivers are involved in the whole process as well. The children get to work on practical projects to put their theoretical learnings into practice, something which was overlooked in the old education system. 

Although more expensive, the children get the opportunity to study and learn more about things they love. 

Looking Back: Reflecting on the old and new curriculum 

The new curriculum has allowed our children to pick subjects such as art, crafts, music, and physical education, amongst others. The children enjoy that their aunties and uncles play a part in their assignments and learning at home. The aunties feel the same way too. This is what they have to say about it…

“I like the new system a lot! Despite the many assignments, we find ourselves learning in the process. We are also able to bond with the children more in the process.” said Auntie Petti. 

Auntie Ann with our precious toddlers on their first day of preschool.

Auntie Ann, despite liking the new system, has a few reservations. 

“Though the Competency-Based Curriculum is new and good, it is more expensive since children come back home regularly with new supplies to be purchased. There is a lot of content and the children have to spend long hours trying to finish up their assignments.”

While the children do have to spend a little more time working on their assignments, they enjoy doing it because it’s in areas of their interest. 

However, with the rising cost of education for our children, we feel blessed to be able to give them the opportunity to make great strides in their new environment. None of this would have been possible without your support. For that, we are eternally grateful. 

Your generosity, donations, and willingness to help our children go a long way. Continue being a part of our childrens’ lives as we watch them reach their full potential.