ERIC Number: EJ1283767
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2021
Culturally Responsive Early Childhood Education: A Catalyst for Change in Rwanda
Thirumurthy, Vidya; Brown, Janet F.
Childhood Education, v97 n1 p56-63 2021
During the summer of 2016, the first author, along with an undergraduate student, observed an early childhood education program for 3- to 6-year-old children at Bright School, Muhanga, Rwanda. For two weeks, they documented the curriculum development, curricular and cultural adaptations of developmentally appropriate practices, social and curricular interactions between teacher-child and child-child, and professional mentoring and/or support given by the second author to teachers at the school. The second author, an early childhood professional from the United States, oversees TEACH Rwanda (TR) schools for young children in Rwanda. Working toward achieving the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal #4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, UNESCO encourages nations to develop policies and systems for provision of early childhood education and care (ECEC) so all children have access to high-quality early childhood experiences. Engaging in efforts to modernize teaching practices can be a challenging endeavor as nations seek to strike a balance between new and old. Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), if applied appropriately, has the potential to nurture both individual development and cultural practices. Cultural adaptations of DAP are of particular interest to both authors. In this article, they describe how they began an investigation into how Rwandan teachers marry their cultural practices to DAP with an open mind. Using their field notes and documents they collected, they explored two major questions: (1) What Rwandan cultural practices (language, traditions, natural resources) are honored in the ECE program at Bright School? and (2) How do Rwandan teachers adapt DAP into the Rwandan cultural practices?
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Culturally Relevant Education, Early Childhood Education, Curriculum Development, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Teacher Student Relationship, Inclusion, Equal Education, Access to Education, Educational Practices
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Rwanda