By Ivy Muigai, Communications Specialist, World Vision Kenya
World Vision Kenya and the Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) have launched the Build a World of Play campaign. It is aimed at enhancing the learning experience for early education children in Kenya and promoting a lifelong love for learning through integrated play-based activities in schools and learning forums.
The project, valued at over KSh 3 million and funded by LEGO Foundation, seeks to directly benefit over 6,000 learners, teachers and close to 5,000 caregivers in Nairobi, Kakamega and Narok. It will later be extended to other parts of Kenya.
The project will also engage government and education officials to promote the integration of play-based activities with learning initiatives, while also supporting the implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) among schools in the country.
World Vision Kenya Acting National Director, Geoffrey Kativa, highlighted the significance of this new initiative, which underlines the power of play in improving learning outcomes among early learners.
“This collaborative project is an integrated tool that will incorporate county education officials, school heads, teachers and caregivers in promoting play as a critical element in teaching early years education. It will also ensure that the value of play for children’s holistic development and learning is widely understood, enacted in early years education policies and reflected in resource allocations,” he said.
The initiative will see the KNLS leverage established mobile libraries to promote literacy through play and reading in different spots across the Country, via a play-bus caravan targeting early learners, schools and parents.
Flagging off the play-bus caravan in Nairobi, Dr. Charles Nzivo, Acting CEO of KNLS said, “This campaign resonates well with what we have been doing through reading promotion activities among children. Through partnerships, the children’s sections in some libraries have been refurbished into colourful children corners that are stocked with relevant learning materials including books, audio visual content, educational games and toys.”
He added that over the years, the organisation has strived towards providing child friendly spaces and programmes in libraries and out of their libraries through school outreach initiatives.
Led by the KNLS, the caravan will bring out fun in reading and playing activities on the roadside and in local schools to creatively engage early learners through play materials that help boost literacy and numeracy skills, among other foundational concepts, which can be easily taught through play to children in grade one to three.
The global campaign, which is part of LEGO’s 90th anniversary celebrations, will also seek to strengthen families’ understanding of the value of play in pre-primary settings and at home by sensitising parents and caregivers on their roles as outlined in the parental empowerment and engagement framework, which is one of the guiding principles in the CBC initiative.
“A number of schools are already benefitting from the project, with caregivers trained to develop teaching and learning resources given the important role that they play in the success of a child’s education. This is enhancing the learning experience and making work easier for teachers,” Mr. Kativa added.
So far, caregivers have also been participating in monitoring the implementation of the curriculum, tracking performances of their children, developing the teaching and learning resources, attending schools’ events, and providing a healthy and conducive environment for learning and discussing children’s progress with their teachers.
According to a World Bank Report, Kenya has registered a marked improvement in literacy or languages, as well as arithmetic among its learners. Between 2016 and 2018, testing in Class (Grade) Three on Mathematics, English and Kiswahili performance, revealed that there was an improvement in all the three subjects. The share of students meeting minimum requirements increased by six percentage points in numeracy, by 16 points in English and by one point in Kiswahili.
Research reveals that play is one of the most important ways in which young children gain essential knowledge and skills. This new campaign contributes to this goal.