There’s nothing better than good news first thing on a Monday morning, and that was particularly true on October 1st when we received an email from Natalie Contil…
Natalie works for a UK registered charity in Malawi – The Charlotte Parker Charitable Trust for the Advancement of Education in Africa. She is one of the organisers who helps support volunteer teachers of early years children via weekly visits to offer CPD, teaching inspiration and supplementary recourses in a place where these resources are scarce.
“The sole mission of the CharChar Trust is to empower and enable African children to help themselves to a brighter future through literacy.”
On October 1st, Natalie had received an email from one of these volunteer teachers; asking what, if any, advice she might have for leading phonemic activities with 6-year-old children learning English as a second language.
Natalie wanted to explore teaching methods and turn away from the ‘chalk and talk’ method of learning which has dominated the curriculum for so many years. But teachers “have had zero exposure to interactive teaching practise” having been brought up and taught in the same way.
“Malawi is a very musically gifted nation, yet teachers rarely see the importance of music, song and rhythm as a teaching and learning tool.”
After doing research online, Natalie came across Boogie Mites. She was inspired by videos of our songs in action and loved the idea of using music and movement to build strong foundations for literacy, she “instantly thought how amazing it would be if [we] could bring a team to Malawi, to help inspire [their] teachers to use these fantastic methods in their own classes”.
We were over the moon. We’ve always tried to spread our passion for the impact music and movement has on early years development, so it was beautiful to see that it had not only reached further than expected but that it had inspired others to take a step away from classical teaching methods and try our musical activities – which are so much more fun for everyone taking part!
“Malawian primary school teachers are under a huge amount of pressure.”
Malawian teachers find themselves leading classes in excess of 100 pupils per teacher and in many cases this figure is a lot higher – “a class of 100+ pupils is not unusual.” It seems these teachers have (more than) their work cut out for them! Poor working conditions and minimal support means that change to the curriculum, and to the lives of these children, is a difficult goal.
“The Char Char Trust aims to improve literacy levels in Malawi by helping young people to access better education and opportunities in life. Our unique contribution to the sector is to provide specialist teaching and learning resources, such as reading books, dictionaries (English/ Chichewa), educational games classroom posters and supplementary phonic- based teacher training and continued support to the teachers and schools we partner with”
As per Natalie’s request; we would love to send our Creative Director, Harriet Thomas and one of our teachers to Malawi to share our methods and experiences of teaching phonemic awareness with music and movement.
We are thrilled that Natalie found us, and that she feels Boogie Mites programmes can have a real impact on the education these children are receiving. One of our activities which she found on our YouTube channel, has already been trialled by a small group of children…
Many thanks and keep Boogy-ing!