Our nursery/primary school
The school provides free education for around 500 nursery children (ages 3-6) and primary children (ages 6-13) from the Namatala slum.
Around 50 children are added to our programmes each year and start in baby class through middle class to top class (the equivalent of the English Pre-school system). The Primary School runs from P1 – P7 (the equivalent of the English Reception to Year 7 school years). When children leave the Primary school after P7, they can either move on to our Secondary School (if they pass their Primary Leaving Exam) or they can enter vocational training. With either option, we continue to support them through all our various programmes.
In Uganda, much of the teaching is through rote learning and copying from the blackboard. In our nursery and primary school we have moved away from this into more creative and child-centred teaching methods. This includes phonics, group work, independent writing and games. We also try and use culturally appropriate story books and reading schemes to both help our children with learning English and also to develop in them a love of reading.
In Uganda, primary education is almost free... there are no school fees, but parents still have to pay for uniform, pencils, books and even toilet paper – which is unaffordable for the poorest families. Attendance is not compulsory, so many children remain at home. If they are able to attend, they might do so for a couple of years, and when the parents run out of money they end up having to ‘sit out’ for a year or two until finances are found. Classrooms of Primary kids can therefore be aged anywhere between 10 and 18 years old! The government schools are over-subscribed, so there can be 100 to 200 children in one class, often sat on the floor with only one teacher.
In comparison, our children are provided with free education, healthcare, welfare support and food, our attendance rates are high and our lower classes have teaching assistants to support their learning.
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