A New Curriculum from the Nuru Kenya Education Team

After months of hard work, the Education Team rolled out its new curriculum to begin the school year on January 6, 2014. George Nyamweya, our Training Manager, and Jolene McCall, Education Intern have been putting in a lot of effort for the last 6 months on new lessons for our students in Pre-Unit (Kindergarten) through Std. 7. 

Our new lessons are based on the Common Core State Standards and learning progressions developed by Nuru partner Harvest Learning Group. We appreciate the time and effort Harvest put into helping us develop learning progressions and activities during 2013. It was a team effort and we could not have pulled it off without their assistance.

During the month of November, after the end of the 2013 school year, the Education team trained on the new curriculum, reviewing the new lessons, giving practice lessons, and developing materials. It was good to get everyone on the same page. The new curriculum has a large emphasis on literacy skills such as decoding, blending, and breaking down words into their components. Our team practiced teaching these skills in the context of the new lessons and were able to ask questions. In Kenya, many times, words are taught using the whole language method, where learning is based on memorization. However, when learners encounter new words they have never seen before, they often struggle to sound out or decode the words. Our new curriculum specifically addresses those issues and takes a phonetic approach to learning to read.

In the first few weeks of the school year, our facilitators have noticed some struggles in learners adapting to the new techniques, but also seen successes. The great thing about these lessons is that there is a repetition of concepts and each week builds on the previous week’s lesson. Learning to read is a process, and it will be exciting to see how the students in our schools progress throughout the year!  Stay tuned…

About Jimmy Leak

Education Program Strategic Advisor — Dr. Jimmy Leak has designed and managed early grades literacy programs in East Africa. While completing his Ph.D. in Education and Policy and Social Context at the University of California, Irvine, he was named a 2011-2012 Public Impact Fellow for his research on teachers and early grades student achievement.

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