“Children have many teachers in life. Some will be good, some will be bad but as parents we can support our children by talking to them regularly about their lives, supporting them in everything they do and by maintaining close contact with the school they go to.”
These wise words came from Headteacher, Jean de Dieu, to 24 parents at Umubano Primary School’s first ever parents’ training session held on 1 October. The aim of the training session was to work with parents who have children in Umubano Primary School to help them to find the best methods to support their children’s learning and development both inside and outside of school. Importantly, parents requested this training themselves, a truly bottom-up development. This shows that there has been a real step forward in the relationship between Umubano Primary School and the wider community – and this will make a huge difference to the students’ growth and development inside and outside school.
This first of three planned sessions was designed specifically for parents with children in the nursery classes. The sessions have been made age-specific in order to tailor the discussion and learning to children in their different stages of life development and come up with the most appropriate support. This session was opened by the Head of the PTA who welcomed everyone and then Jean de Dieu ran through the structure and aim of the training. After this introduction, Nursery Teacher, Louise, led a discussion where parents worked in small groups to discuss how they currently support their children and what they could do in the future. Child safety and behaviour management were two further topics explored by parents and teachers and all discussions points were shared so parents could pick up strategies and ideas from each other.
These training sessions are also an opportunity for teachers to demonstrate their expertise and share their experience of working with students. They are a unique opportunity to work closely with parents to extend their support to children outside the classroom. Not only does this ensure the students’ learning is supported in a variety of ways, but contributes to the recognition and celebration of the critical work teachers do. The future of the nation is built in the classroom and Umubano Primary School is taking important steps to praise and recognise teaching as the important and skilled profession that it is.
We are excited to see such a strong example of innovation and progress from the bottom-up - something we are working very hard to support. It represents a crucial step on the journey for Umubano Primary School to become a self-sufficient hub of excellence that can, in turn, support education development within the local area.
We hope that by documenting progress of such innovation in education development in Rwanda - learning can be shared among peers and impact upon many more parents, students and teachers in the local area and beyond. We would be very happy to hear from anyone who has thoughts, questions or similar experience to share.