Graham and Steph work as part of a team in Sachibondu, in the Northwest Province of Zambia. Steph is a nurse who supports medical staff at the clinic, whilst Graham’s calling is to work with children.
In the last 18 months, Graham has been helping local teachers to update their teaching styles and provide new resources for the preschool. Previously the children learnt by rote, had little constructive play and the only resources for teachers to use were a blackboard and chalk.
After taking the teachers to see another inspiring preschool at Nyangombe, which proved to be a springboard for change, Graham has introduced more fun into the classroom and built an outside concrete area where children can learn to skip, play parachute games and enjoy unstructured play time with friends.
At first the local children, who were not used to playing, simply sat and waited for instructions. But now the preschool is radically different from a year ago. The classroom is full of playdough, puzzles and crayons, the children have begun to make up their own games and the teachers are beginning to make changes to the way they do things with chunks of time during the day set aside for play.
“We cannot take anything for granted. Lasting mission work, that will continue to have value after I have gone, depends on working in strong partnership with the local staff.”