A Passion for Pre-Primary

Meet Aline.

She’s a vibrant and passionate pre-primary teacher who makes learning come alive for her preschoolers. All around her space are corners containing teaching aids that students can use to discover and learn. Her confidence and warmth are felt by her young learners, and her passion for pre-primary is evident in the way she loves and leads her students.

Aline is also the only Early Childhood Educator at E.P. Kiroji. She has no teaching experience with nursery students, and practically works as a volunteer. Teacher Aline doesn’t even have a classroom space of her own.

You may be wondering how she found herself in this position. No training in early childhood education. Little to no pay. Leading a class full of 45 curious and wriggling preschoolers in a rented room at a local church.

The answer is simple: Aline loves working with young children and is passionate about ensuring they receive the best education in their earliest years. She is an advocate for pre-primary education. She knows that nursery school prepares children for primary school and opens their minds to learning and discovering in relevant, inclusive, and fun ways. 

But How Did She Get Here? 

Aline had been a primary teacher at E.P. Kabirizi for seven years. When she joined Kiroji as a primary school teacher in 2019, she felt driven to do something she’d never done before: start—and lead—a nursery school. 

She approached the Head Teacher, Jean Marie, with the idea of starting a pre-primary school program—brand new to the school. Although there was no classroom space for them, Head Teacher Jean Marie arranged for students to meet in a local church and provided Aline with the materials needed to lead her class. And despite their limited understanding of the importance of early childhood education and financial strains, her student’s parents have been contributing money as often as they can to pay her for her hard work. Nonetheless, her passion spurred her on.

A Passion for Pre-Primary

With her ECE syllabus and curriculum guide in hand, and her church classroom set up, Aline got to work. She faced difficulty with few resources and a small classroom and had trouble managing and engaging a packed room of children aged 3 to 6. But her passion for pre-primary kept her going, and Wellspring’s training in Learning Through Play and Effective Use of Teaching Aids provided much-needed support and guidance. Aline learned to create teaching aids from local materials, like rice sacks and beans. She discovered how to use play-based activities that not only make learning engaging but also help students develop fine motor skills and language and social skills. She felt empowered and equipped to lead her classroom and overcome the challenges she faced. As she puts her training into action, her students have been blooming while they receive an education that meets their learning needs.

Will You Join Her?

Though nothing can shake Aline’s determination, the Kiroji school community is far from properly equipped to provide the youngest students with an education that shapes their hearts and minds for years to come. Despite the support of Head Teacher Jean Marie, resources are slim, and parents lack an understanding of what makes pre-primary education so important. Aline’s makeshift classroom is under-resourced with few learning materials and overcrowded with a wide age range of students who need proper attention. She also has no consistent pay. 

We have our work cut out as we continue working to equip Aline and the 63 newly-hired early childhood educators and volunteers in Rubavu. But we know that investing in pre-primary educators is key to investing in the next generation of students. As the youngest students access an age-appropriate, fun, and inclusive quality education, they lay the learning foundation that they will build upon throughout their primary education. Will you join us as we equip teachers like Aline to reach and teach today’s pre-primary students—Rwanda’s next generation?