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An aid project by Mayfair Academy, Nyland Knight Charitable Foundation, Alpha Academia Association Publico
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    About The Kunkujang Nursery School More

    The Kunkujang Nursery School is located in the village of Kunkujang, around 25 kilometres from Banjul. The village has an estimated population of around 800

    Free primary school education has just been introduced to The Gambia however nursery level education (for children aged 3 to 7) must still be paid for. Many of the families cannot afford to pay for education and the chances of a child succeeding later in life without a nursery education are very slim.

    The Kunkujang Nursery School can take up to 200 children. Last year there were 170 children enrolled at the school and this year the figure has dropped to 120. The primary reason for this is the parents no longer being able to afford the fees. While the students are in their classes, groups of children who can not afford to go to school gather at the doors and windows, listening in on the lessons

    Mayfair Academy also planning to stock the school library which, once the students gain a basic level of English, will be a great resource to help them improve their reading and writing skills. We are currently working with Usborne Books and for every book purchased by a student, parent or guardian at Mayfair International Academy a percentage of that sale will go to a fund for books for the library. Once the students have a sufficient level of written English we will set up a pen-pal programme between our students and theirs.

    How We Are Going To Help

    The trip to The Gambia has inspired us in many ways and given us lots of ideas on how we can further support the school. We have learnt that the teachers loosely follow the British curriculum but that they have little or no guidance on what to teach. Two of the teachers have had no training and we are going to pay for one of them to gain his teaching qualification during the school holidays. Another sponsor who visited at the same time as us is going to pay for the other teacher to do the same.

    The level of English of many of the children at this school is very poor and this severely hinders the learning process. We are putting in place a five year plan to help the teachers to have more structure and to guide them. In the first year we will work with the teacher of the youngest class. We will provide her with the annual overview, termly overview, monthly plans and weekly plans of our Foundation 1 class, tailored to fit their timetable. We will provide workbooks that the children can work through during the year and 'tick-box' style report templates that the teachers can use to ensure that the children are on target. The following year we will provide the same support for the next year group, giving them the plans of our Foundation 2 class.

    Many of the students who joined our Foundation 1 class in September and who had little or no knowledge of the English language at that time are now speaking basic English and can understand simple instructions. This is because we immerse the children in the language and, at that age, children are able to absorb the information quickly. Teachers in the Kunkujang Nursery School have been using a different method whereby they repeat everything that they say in English in the local languages of Wolof, Mandinka or Fula. This method hinders the learning of the language and we believe this is the reason that many children reach the final year of nursery school without being able to communicate in English. On our next visit we will give the teachers tips on how to encourage these children to use English by sharing the knowledge and skills that our teachers have developed from working with foreign language students.

    We are also planning to stock the school library which, once the students gain a basic level of English, will be a great resource to help them improve their reading and writing skills. We are currently working with Usborne Books and for every book purchased by a student, parent or guardian at Mayfair International Academy a percentage of that sale will go to a fund for books for the library. Once the students have a sufficient level of written English we will set up a pen-pal programme between our students and theirs.

    As always we will continue to fund the school materials each year and to support the Nyland Knight Charitable Foundation.

  • The Gambia is one of Africa's smallest and poorest nations. It ranked 168th out of 187 countries in the United Nations Development Programme's 2011 Human Development Index. Approximately three quarters of the rural population is classified as poor and over 60% of all Gambians depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Over one third of its 1.7 million population survive below the United States poverty line of $1.25 (1.60€) per day. Every year these poor households face the 'hungry season' between July and September, when the rains come.