Keza is five years old. She is in her last year of pre-primary school at Gasanze School. She is excited about graduating from pre-primary and speaks happily about her teachers and the variety of toys she finds in class, which support her learning.
When asked what she dreams to be in the future, Keza responds quickly. “I want to be the president! I am in school to prepare myself for that dream.” Explaining how her lessons help her towards her dream, Keza proudly adds, “my teacher gives me time to play with toys and he teaches us Kinyarwanda and Mathematics. I know a president must know how to read and write and should know how to count well.”
Gasanze School has big classrooms, improved sanitation and hygiene facilities, a well-stocked library, disability-friendly buildings and pathways, and green safe playgrounds. The recently added pre-primary unit also has lots of educational toys to support children’s learning.
Through play, children are able to engage in hands-on activities as they interact with their classmates. This approach enhances innovation and creativity because children can play and learn according to individual interests and choices.
Jean Claude Munyeshyaka, Keza’s teacher, says, “When pupils begin their first year of nursery school, they are excited but shy. They are usually unable to speak because they are not with their parents. This is a good time for us to start engaging them until they are able to talk and share their thoughts.” Jean Claude explained that the lessons he teaches his students in nursery prepare them to start primary school with a solid foundation. Encouraging children to dream big and plan their future is essential for strengthening Rwanda’s education system.
In schools like Keza’s, each student has a personal file, where teachers keep track of a child’s individual interests based their habits during play. This allows teachers to support their students’ passions to achieve their dreams.