In 2003, primary education was made free to all students in Kenya, increasing 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 with rising illiteracy rates and issues related to overcrowding and faculty shortages. 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; the learning atmosphere it generates is typically not one in which children are encouraged to deeply digest content or develop creative problem-solving skills. This service learning project 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.
Timeframe for Involvement
1 to 4 weeks (or longer)
Service learning involvement centers on using Woodland Star International School’s dynamic curriculum as a best practice model to train and collaborate with low income primary schools in the Limuru community such as Limuru Children’s Centre, Pages Academy, BOC and more. Woodland Star’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 to not only give learners a genuine and deep understanding of content and context, but also powerful tools to become the learners, thinkers and creators who will help to create a better world for the future.
- Train and participate in best-practice instructional strategies such as the following: 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.
- Find out how a constructivist philosophy guides and shapes practice. From Lev Vygotsky, to Reggio Emilia, to 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.
Approximately forty kilometers north of Nairobi extend the fertile rolling hills of Limuru, most famous for vast tea fields and farmland. Here lies Brackenhurst, a conference center and educational campus known for the beauty of its grounds, its refreshingly cool climate and first-class hospitality toward guests. Rooms are comfortable with en-suite bathrooms and hot showers, and Brackenhurst provides tasty, nutritious food ranging from traditional Kenyan to international cuisine. The conference center is equipped with an LED projector, TV multi-system, CD/DVD player and excellent Wi-Fi Internet access, creating an extremely conducive learning environment for students. Brackenhurst is proud to be home to one of the largest collections of indigenous plants in Africa with over a thousand tree and shrub species, making it a unique destination for inspiration, exploration, and learning.
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.