Child development programme - Teacher Training

Naomi Booth :: Friday 11th February 2022 :: This Story

Building Confidence and developing skills

Picture: /files/blog/447/w288/line.jpgSince 2005, OST has been working in some of the poorest parts of Sri Lanka developing livelihood and education programmes which aim to bring hope for a better future to the many living in poverty.  The work in preschools and the development of educational opportunity for all children is central to its work.

At the heart of all preschool planning is the aim of providing a quality of education programme and a crucial dimension of this is an emphasis on regular, engaging, and supportive teacher training. Training of teachers is a priority. OST currently supports 28 preschools attended by 819 children and employs 58 teachers.

Teacher trainingTeacher Training

Since 2008 when OST began taking teams of volunteers to visit and work in its schools, annual teacher training sessions have been delivered.  I was privileged to be part of the very first training day and the memories will always stay with me. I will never forget the air of excitement in the room and the commitment of the teachers to learning and to working with us.  And as an early years teacher myself, I was challenged and moved by just how much I had to learn from their experiences of working in classrooms devoid of the furniture and resources I so took for granted.

Whilst the content of the training delivered on these occasions has developed over the years, the format of the day has remained much the same.  Basically, it follows a thematic approach.  The teachers are presented with a story, or a topic and 4 or 5 related learning activities are shared with them.  These activities seek to encourage and support growth in important areas of child development.

Child Development Programme

Over the years as OST has developed its own Child Development Programme, Teacher Training sessions have become more targeted.  An Assessment Tool which aims to track a child's progress and monitor the development of essential skills has been introduced.  Consequently, our training sessions now seek to support teachers in creating suitable learning opportunities for their children in these key areas and so aid the development of these skills. 

The introduction of the Assessment Tool has also meant training teachers to use tablets and specifically 'Kobo' tool to record data and track development.  Regular training sessions now take place. Apart from the recording and storage of data, the tablets also provide better communication channels with preschool teachers which enables OST to bring further support and help when it is necessary.

Picture: /files/blog/447/w288/teachers.jpg

So over time, the teacher training programme has expanded and developed as OST continues to build a quality education programme in its preschools. Importantly, in recent years, this development has been helped and enabled by funding received from Fonthill Foundation. It is their support that has enabled the purchase of tablets for each of our preschools, the follow-up training and, for the past 3 years, the running of a 3-day teacher training event in Batticaloa. These residential events have been a great success giving teachers an opportunity to come together from across the island, to practise existing skills, learn new ones and support each other. OST is extremely grateful to Fonthill Foundation for its ongoing commitment and support. A crucial dimension of our emphasis on building a quality education programme for all our preschools is regular, innovative, and engaging teacher training.