George Weir recently visited Elmina for the first time since the March 2020 lockdown. As reported before, Ghana did well in controlling the Covid-19 virus. Schools and other activities are back to almost normal although there are staggered term schedules in some grades.
HONORING THOSE WHO MAKE EDUCATION POSSIBLE
A highlight of the visit was PIF day where our current and past students gathered to honor the people who made their education possible. It was a wonderful celebration with laughs and memories of the nearly 20 year history of Tomorrow’s Stars.
A STRONGER PARTNERSHIP:
TOMORROW’S STARS AND CHRIST CARES INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (CCIS)
Beginning with the January restart of CCIS there was a change in the management structure to benefit teachers, students and Tomorrow’s Stars PIFs. It is working very well already, we can tell by the enthusiasm. The former Headmaster resigned during Covid and has been replaced by long time teacher and financial officer Samuel. Our Star and Managing Director Solo is now his “Academic Assistant” and former teacher and TS scholarship student is “Administrative Assistant”. They make a great team!
This is working great because the teachers and PIFs work together in the classroom with more shared assignments. The teachers meetings and PTA meetings have lots of participation and problem solving and even laughing. The teachers fully participated in PIF day on May 22. The teamwork is obvious.
TEACHERS AND PIFS:
Our PIFs and CCIS teachers are working so well together. We have enough PIFs to share classrooms with most teachers. This is a big deal for class sizes of 30-40 kids. It also allows for part of the class to do a “field trip” around the grounds looking at plants and nature, or Library, Computer Room, Science lab and Resource Room visits.
Here are a few of our teachers and PIFs.
LIBRARIES AS IMAGINATION CENTRES
Christ Cares Resource Room and Imagination Centre: As you may know, our Resource Room is to help small groups of children learn through play. We take groups of 12 from KG-Grade 2 for 30 minute periods. Literacy specialist Sharon schedules activities to supplement classes including exercises for the small ones to participate in imagination exercises.
We use similar exercises at the Imagination Centre with older children and more advanced books, but still use the term “talk about it” which seems to get them going. We are still at the early stages in developing this.
We are inspired by children’s book author Joe Brown who has supplied books to us as well as doing zoom readings for our students and PIFs. He will be helping us on this journey. See his web site at https://theflightsofmarceau.com/
How do you help children (who have learned by rote) use their imagination?
Sharon begins with a book with pictures and local (Ghanaian related) content. The students look at a picture and “talk about (in Fanti)” what they see, like and think is happening. Many participate and have different ideas. Sharon tries to get all to participate. It can be lively and she then reads the story with connection to what they talked about. It works well.
Helping Bantuma school with textbooks.
Bantuma school is a local public school and home to our first library. Ghana has a new and improved curriculum design with new textbooks. The government has been slow in getting them printed and distributed.
At the request of the Headmaster, we paid for one copy of each of 50 new text books as selected by the teachers. They were well received and will be stored in our “Imagination Centre” for borrowing by teachers for lesson plans and classes.
Abundant Grace school dedicates a library room
Local private school Abundant Grace has finally completed their library room. During the trip we planned and funded paint for the walls and designs, and the beginnings of furnishings. We will provide a librarian and we already have some books, but will be increasing the number as renovation proceeds.
HIGHLIGHTS ON OUR WOMEN
Leticia (center) is a third year UCC student in Early Childhood education. She used her break do teacher training sessions and run the Imagination Centre at CCIS.
Leticia with Sharon and Rebecca in Imagination Centre!
Sharon has been with Resource Room and Girls Club for years. She is now starting a degree program in Early Childhood Education. She is breaking new ground for us as we learn about how to “do” imagination. She is off to a great start, always good at getting students to participate.
Here she is presenting to the PTA about what CCIS is doing in the Resource Room and Library!
She has completed her teaching diploma and national service and has been posted as a Grade 1 teacher in Komenda Sefwi (about 45 minutes from Elmina). She has been a dedicated teacher since the beginning and was involved in our Jolly Phonics training and Resource Room in the past. She wants to do a Resource Room at her school and has a plan. Her Headmaster has agreed to let her prepare and use a storage room that is suitable. The details are being worked out for the painting and furnishing, we are very excited for our SECOND Resource Room.
As we prepare for the Resource Room, Tomorrow’s Stars has purchased a set of Grade 1 textbooks for her to use in her class.
RENOVATING CCIS WASHROOMS
We received a recent grant and decided to renovate the washrooms at CCIS. PIF Tackie and Admin HM Osborn were project leaders to plan the work and obtain materials and craftsmen. It includes running water and handwashing sinks as well as 3 separate “urinals” and 3 toilets. We are very happy with it and have developed a “sharing plan” for the often overlooked cleaning function. We will be looking into roof design for the future.
GIRLS’ CLUB MAKES NOSE MASKS
With the help of board member Wendy the Girls Club learned to make Covid 19 Nose masks with their sewing machine. Wendy sent some design and sewing instructions and a local seamstress helped with the training. The girls selected some colorful fabric and made masks of various designs. They look good, don’t they.