It is every parent’s dream to give their children a good start in life. And that is the thought that saw Patricia Toroitich set up a teachers college to train in early childhood development.
Premier Early Childhood Development College is the first school of its kind in Rwanda. Located in a conducive environment, in Kimicanga near La Colombier schools, the college boasts equipped classrooms full of interactive and educational games.
At Premier, the curriculum is tailor-made for the Rwandan market. It has many components including education for children with special needs e.g autism, down’s syndrome, blindness, dumbness and deafness.
The trainee teachers will be taught child development, technology in education, educational psychology, curriculum planning, classroom management and teaching methods.
Entrepreneurship is an additional component in the curricular. “Entrepreneurship is important especially to those who want to run kindergartens in future. These teachers will be all rounded after their training,” says Mrs Toroitich.
Kuria Getome, an educationist and one of the promoters of Premier College, says that early years of life are crucial for a child’s growth and development.
For a child to reach their full potential, they need to be cared for and nurtured in a friendly environment, which ensures that they are healthy, develop good thinking and are taught emotional and social skills in addition to a good command of language.
All these are possible if the children are given a strong foundation from the first day they attend school. Early Child Development promotes an equity-based approach for providing nurturing environments for children.
“We live in the technology era, and teaching children should be holistic going by the current developments. Children must be in a friendly environment that identifies with them. Besides class work, they should also be encouraged in their areas of interests instead of being discouraged,” adds Mrs Toroitich.
According to Getome, children with special needs should be allowed to attend the same school and classes with other children. “No child is more special than the other, they should be taught how to mingle and tolerate each other from an early age,” adds the educationist.
Cecilia Kayitesi, a mother of three, welcomes the idea. “When a child starts school being taught by teachers who are not trained, they end up half-baked their entire lives. So it is important for these teachers to be trained first before they train our children,” adds Kayitesi.
Premier College is offering training to senior three, senior six leavers and nursery teachers who are already teaching but do not have any formal training on Early Child Development.