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Primary Education Practices

Faculty-LedFaculty-Led | Education Kenya

Module Overview

In 2003, primary education was made free to all students in Kenya. This policy increased primary school attendance by almost forty percent within four years. However, quality of education is an ongoing issue in Kenya, particularly at the primary level where illiteracy rates are increasing and issues related to overcrowding and facility shortages persist. Furthermore, the path of Kenya’s primary education curriculum and teacher training was largely paved during the British colonial era and remains stagnant today. Pressure to get results is immense for both teachers and students under this system and the learning atmosphere it generates is typically not one where children are encouraged to deeply digest content or develop creative problem solving skills.

This module seeks to address the issue of quality education in Kenya by partnering with international primary school educators in the exploration, development and implementation of dynamic learning practices at Woodland Star School and ultimately on education in larger settings of Limuru and Kenya. Woodland Star School’s curriculum, founded on constructivist philosophy and pedagogy, is child-centered and incorporates hands-on, personalized learning for students in multi-aged classrooms. Woodland Star implements thematic integration of content areas, STEM project-based learning and environmental sustainability theory and practice. This not only gives learners a genuine and deep understanding of content and context, but powerful tools to become the learners, thinkers and creators who will help to create a better world for the future.

Location

This module is based at Brackenhurst Learning Centre in Limuru, Kenya. Brackenhurst is located on 100 safe and scenic acres approximately 40km North of Nairobi. Here you will find a peaceful and quiet area, nestled in the fertile rolling hills of the Limuru region, most famous for the vast fields of tea and farmland. Brackenhurst is proud to be home to one of the largest collections of indigenous plants in Africa with over 1000 tree and shrub species. Participants may engage in on-site recreation walking, jogging or bird watching along our forest trails. Sports activities include basketball, lawn tennis, table tennis, volleyball and soccer. A satellite TV room is situated next to the cyber lounge; near the café and gift shop. Brackenhurst is equipped with a nurse and clinic to attend to any health needs should they arise, as well as a full-time security manager and a staff of 24-hour security personnel.

Brackenhurst can house up to 270 guests and is known for its warm hospitality. Rooms are comfortable with en suite bathrooms and hot showers and the food is locally sourced, tasty and nutritious. Our experienced chefs will prepare your meals buffet style in our dining hall ranging from traditional Kenyan to international cuisine. At all times Brackenhurst maintains a high standard of hygiene and quality in both room cleanliness and catering.

At Brackenhurst, each learning area is prepared to your specific need with a custom-setting and materials as per your request. All conference rooms are equipped with the following items: LED projector, TV multi-system, flip chart, whiteboard and markers, CD/DVD player and excellent Wi-Fi Internet access.

Educational Outcomes

Practical: Training and participation in best-practice instructional strategies such as thematic instruction, multi-aged classrooms, individualized educational planning, drama-based education, STEAM, project-based learning, environmentally-focused sustainability and practice, “Peace Hero” curriculum and more.

Theory: Discovery of how a constructivist philosophy guides and shapes practice. From Lev Vygotsky, to Reggio Emilia, Maria Montessori and others… How does educational theory actually impact learning? Build knowledge and become part of the learning process and transformative community at Woodland Star School.

Module Length

The minimum duration for this module is 6 days.  The maximum length is 21 days (longer modules may incorporate additional study locations).

Contributors

Amy McKelvey

Amy is the founder of Woodland Star School. She graduated from the University of Mobile with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and from William Carey University with a Master’s Degree in Gifted Education. Amy went on to teach internationally in 1992. She has taught in both the American system and the British system, across a range of differing subjects and levels of student development.

Amy is certified in MBTI training and uses her understanding of personality types to engage with individual children according to their own unique gifts. At Woodland Star, she serves as a Middle Years teacher. Amy loves to travel, go to museums, be with her family, laugh, watch interesting movies, experience theatre, and dance (although she claims to be not very good at it). Amy loves her husband John and her three children, Meredith, Carmichael, and Mara.

Florian Rabenstein

Florian graduated from the University of Austria with a Master in Political Science in 2010, a Master of Science in International Relations from London School of Economics in 2011 and a Bachelor of Education in History and English from the University College of Teacher Education in 2014. Florian graduated from the University of Austria with a Master in Political Science in 2010, a Master of Science in International Relations from London School of Economics in 2011 and a Bachelor of Education in History and English

from the University College of Teacher Education in 2014. In high school, Florian was elected as youngest local councilor in Vienna and appointed as representative for youth and child affairs by the district major managing projects with an annual budget of up to 200,000 Euros. He also has experience working on projects for the Delegation of the European Union to the International Organisations in Vienna, German Trade Office Taipei, and the Austrian Ombudsman Board. Most recently, Florian was a full-time teacher with Teach for Austria in a lower secondary school with socially disadvantaged students from over 20 different countries, mostly migrants and refugees. He tutored 25 first-graders and was elected spokesperson for the Teach for Austria Alumni Association. He is now a Junior Professional Education Officer for UNICEF in Kenya, sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he is contributing to the following activities as a full-time staff member: Policy, Planning and Reporting; Innovation in Education and Children participation processes, among others.

Nivi Mukherjee

Nivi Mukherjee is the co-founder and CEO of eLimu, one of the most talked about EdTech innovations in Africa. eLimu is an interactive educational platform with rich digital localized content for the Kenyan Primary School curriculum and has been featured on CNN, Al-Jazeera, BBC and The Economist to name a few. eLimu is an interactive educational platform with rich digital localized content for the Kenyan Primary School curriculum and has been featured on CNN, Al-Jazeera, BBC and The Economist to name a few.

As a social entrepreneur, technophile and community volunteer, Nivi is passionate about empowering youth and engaging in community initiatives that foster development and fun. She worked in the IT training industry (for adults) for 6 years, she also runs Maisha ni Matamu (life is sweet in Swahili), a “funucational” social project she started 7 years ago that aims to bring a day full of joy every month to children who are underprivileged and/or orphaned. Nivi is now the President of BRCK Education, a business unit that focuses school-based solutions where the BRCK software and hardware can be used to make a real difference. She is a thought leader in Education Technology for emerging markets. In her spare time, Nivi organizes cultural festivals, bakes, knits, runs half marathons, folds origami and plays Fußball.

Customize Your Program

Thank you for your interest in this module and developing a faculty-led program with EDU Africa. We pride ourselves in our ability to customize a program that will meet your requirements, exceed your expectations and make your vision come to life.


Featured Experiences

Kiambethu Tea Farm

Touring the Kiambethu Tea Farm gives insight into the colonial history and economics of Kenya, as well as the process undergone to transform the leaves of a tea bush into one of the most well known beverages of all time. The tour includes a walk through indigenous forests rich with medicinal trees, as well as a delicious colonial luncheon on the lawn.

River Rafting Rapids Camp

River Tana is the perfect place for white river rafting, with rapids ranging from grades three to five. It is also the only place in for white river rafting in Kenya. Upstream and downstream currents, including waterfalls, provide different technicalities that challenge beginners as well as more experienced rafters. Rafting River Tana is a worthy adrenaline rush!

Big Cat Monitoring

Incredible wildlife is one of Africa’s most appealing icons, and is desperately in need of protection through conservation and educational projects. Many conservation efforts give rise to amazing volunteering programs, such as the opportunity to research and monitor big cats. Taking part in this project gives students a chance to deeply experience and engage with some of Africa’s most powerful and breathtaking wildlife.

Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens

Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens is a vibrant gateway into the world of pre-colonial climate diversity. Rising out of misty, rolling hills of emerald-green tea, these gardens stand as a testament to the power of environmental restoration and protection. The project began in the year 2000 and includes an arboretum of rare tree species that are critically endangered across the continent. 


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