Our work in Africa
"Leadership Development from Childhood"
Child development is one of the most critical challenges facing the developing world. The general consensus is that an individual's character and personality take shape at their earliest years of life. From the joy of bringing a new creature on earth to the challenging responsibility of ensuring that that creature lives a fulfilling life, parents make tremendous sacrifices. Unfortunately, these are not always compensated to the highest expectations due to a multitude of reasons; including financial constraints, lack of education of parents, poor learning environment, political instabilities, etc and are most common in the developing world.
According to UNICEF, 200 million children under 5 in developing countries (equivalent to over one-third of all children) are not fulfilling their potential for development...; Children are developing more slowly, or failing to develop critical thinking and learning skills. This could affect their entry into school, their performance and persistence through school, and their eventual success in the future (Programming Experiences in Early Child Development, UNICEF, 2006)
Uganda is no exception, just like many other African countries, child development faces a multitude of challenges, most importantly lack of proper health care, malnutrition and limited access to education.
While considerable effort has been made towards decreasing infant mortality, educating parents on providing proper nutrition for their children as well as education; we feel that there is yet another important step that has to be made to ensure solid child's development. There is vital need to strengthen the link between the most important actors involved in this regard, that is the child, the parents or guardians and teachers; the last two being the people that a child spends most of their time with, consequently they are the most influential parties in the child's development.
Notwithstanding the efforts taken by both environments (home and school), have we for any moment considered their effect on a child and if so, do our curricular enable the developing child to build mental connectedness between the two environments in their early years. This program is therefore designed to link and involve the trio Teacher-Child-Parent in shaping desirable and sustainable child development and build a strong, visionary society.
To better highlight the need to improve Teacher- Child-Parent interconnectedness, we will share our observation on how distorted this is and how it is affecting child's development in Africa:
The major reason why Teacher- Child-Parent interconnectedness is not paid attention to as a priority in education is linked to the tradition. Children must “obey” seniors (parents, older siblings, teachers, etc) which most of the time means submitting to or following the will of the seniors. While obedience is one among other ethics that a child should be taught, it must not be mistaken for absence of inquisitiveness, creativity and expression from the child to seniors. At home, a child is treated as a no thinker who has to be “cared for” by his/her parents or guardian. He/she does not have enough knowledge to have opinions, likes or dislikes and it is the job of parents/ guardian to think for him/her. Therefore, a child is not given the chance neither to express his/her emotions and feelings nor to think creatively or inquire about what is happening around him/her.
The same happens in school where a child must listen, obey and do as the teacher says. At early age, the teacher focuses on introducing new things to the child's brain and expects the child to absorb them without having to think critically about what all these new things might mean for his/her specific intellectual needs. The child has to fit in a certain learning structure and the teacher expects him/her to do so without putting his/her brain to work to find out why and how that environment might be relevant to his/her learning.
To add to the above, teachers and parents do not work together as far as the child's education and development are concerned. Therefore, parents are not well informed about their child's performance in school and the teachers do not make effort to understand the child's family environment that undoubtedly has a direct impact on the child's ability to absorb new skills learned in school. As a consequence, the child is caught in the middle of uninformed parties who are both struggling to help him/her in his/her physical and intellectual development.
This lack of communication affects the child's developments, there intellectual and emotional needs are not sufficiently attended to, which may delay and /or inhibit completely a child’s potential.
Subsequently, this kind of approach has a direct effect on a child's future, and that is why we see most children afraid to speak up, or once they grow up, they have difficulties to articulate their personalities, to stand up for their opinions, to overcome their insecurities or even pursue their passions.
Sadly, it is not hard to turn anyone into an instrument of doing evil when they do not have a clear idea of who they are, what they believe in and what their ambitions are. And yet as a people we seem oblivious of the vulnerability we subject our child, our Africa to.
It is high time Africa understood that leadership, patriotism and vision must be encouraged from an early age. We must make a priority to teach our children to be thinkers, initiative takers and dreamers of a better tomorrow. We must equip them with all the knowledge and skills they need to be tomorrow's leaders starting by enabling them to discover themselves and train them to take charge of their lives.
We define child development as the growth of perceptual, emotional, intellectual and behavioral capabilities and functioning during childhood. It includes development of language, symbolic thought, logic, memory, emotional awareness, empathy, moral sense, and sense of identity, including sex-role identity
The Teacher-Child-Parent interconnectedness program concentrates on early childhood, a stage where complex developmental tasks of relationship-building, self-confidence and self-regulation are most critical but also most doable. Building social skills and healthy emotional relationships in children is a lot easier than trying to re-mediate unacceptable behaviour and/or lack of morals at a later age.
For the purpose of this program, we use the terms "integration and interconnectedness" to connote the shared responsibility for the transfer of knowledge and values and personality building between the three parties.
We bring a practical, goal-oriented approach to remedy the distorted Teacher-Child-Parent interconnectedness by:
The program is designed for children from culturally diverse families in child care settings, preschools, family child care settings, and kindergarten classrooms, including those dealing with children with special needs/disabilities. Thus the activities of this program require the full participation and involvement of all the subjects i.e. children, teachers and parents. They will be conducted in the school setting or if need be in an impartial setting where all parties can freely manipulate the interactions.
The activities will be facilitated by professionally trained personnel in the field of child development who have reputable expertise for working with children, teaching and parenting.
Activities will range from play activities, art therapy, music and puzzles and will all be age sensitive.
Previous Clients & Programs
Capitalizing on over a Decade of Experience in the field of Leadership & Personal Development Training, Our Founder & Lead Trainer (Robert Kayanja), has had the privilege to celebrate a number of successful experiences both as An Entrepreneur, and as A Leadership Development Trainer & Facilitator.