"The School of St. Yared - an educational blue print for eradicating poverty in marginalised communities in Ethiopia."
Hungry, malnourished, and sick children, some with emotional and psychological problems, cannot learn well in school. Poverty and family circumstances are a significant barrier to these children sustaining their education. The school’s “nurture package” alleviates this.
Full school uniform, including shoes and sportswear
Three nutritious meals a day
All schooling materials, including school bag
Medical care, psychological counselling if necessary
Transport to school if required
Social support for the family – homes are visited regularly
Sanitary wear for girls
In addition to providing a broad based education and covering the Ethiopian curriculum in full, the educational programme is structured to give the children the skill sets and attributes they will need to fulfil the roles St. Yared’s envisages for them.
The skills St. Yared’s seeks to promote
Self assurance and confidence
Motivation, sense of purpose, work ethic, a positive ‘can do’ attitude, perseverance, resilience, and inquisitiveness
Integrity, moral values, tolerance, patience, consideration and good manners
Analytical, original and forward thinking, ability to ‘see the big picture’
First class communication skills (in Amharic and English), interpersonal relationship skills, good listeners, open to, and respecting the opinions of others
Adaptability, able to apply theoretical learning to the practical situations of everyday life
Proud of their humble origins, empathy for their parent’s/carer’s circumstances and role, appreciation of their own culture, and an ongoing commitment to their community and country
….. and above all, a love of life, a love of learning, and striving for excellence in whatever they chose to do.
Classes are small
English teaching starts in Kindergarten at age five. Much of the teaching is done in English.
Best international teaching practices are introduced by overseas volunteers, and by our own Ethiopian teachers trained abroad through the school’s professional development programme
The International Primary School Curriculum is employed. This programme was initiated by Shell to educate local children at its sites overseas, to give them life, work, and learning skills relevant to an increasingly global environment. We want our children to have an international outlook.
Child centred learning promotes confidence and self assurance.
Topic based learning incorporates activities that promote critical thinking and teamwork
Drama, art, music, physical education, and elective programmes promote confidence, creativity, innovation, teamwork, and address social issues
Class based discussion of challenging home/life issues to inform, to encourage problem solving, and dissemination through the child back to the family and the wider community. This can identify children with social and emotional needs requiring mentoring, and indeed draw attention to issues which the school needs to address and resolve with the cooperation of the community.
The school has a well equipped library which the children use as a resource and from which they borrow books to promote their English reading skills.
Digital technology is used by both staff and children.
Interschool debates and sporting events are encouraged to give the children exposure to a wider economic and social community.
There is no corporal punishment – discipline is by positive acknowledgement of good behaviour
A highly motivated, inspirational, enthusiastic, effective and well supported team is key. They are very special people doing a very special job with a scope well outside the teaching role.
They must be first class MENTORS and ROLE MODELS
They are frequently in loco parentis. Our founder, Yared, leads the field.
Staff are selected very carefully for their dedication, ability and willingness to
Participate in this demanding and innovative project
Share expertise with the rest of the team and participate in the professional development programme of the school
Work well in the team
Engage in English proficiency classes
Share professional development initiatives with the public education sector to promote the school’s image and contribute to educational development in the wider community (the school is host to a pilot scheme for rolling out phonics teaching in Ethiopia)
Above all they must have empathy for these very vulnerable children. The staff are given training in recognising and dealing with some the very difficult issues these children face.
The school provides the teachers with a graded pay scale which rewards excellence, dedication and hard work.
Through Yared, the School was born of the community, and they now take ownership of it. Engagement with the community is essential.
There is an implied contract between school and a child’s parent/carer to ensure the child attends school, is supportive of the child’s education, and of the school in its work.
Regular meetings between school/parents/teachers/and community encourages community involvement, commitment to the school and engages the community’s responsibility in resolving problems which affect both school and community.
Where opportunity presents, these meetings are used to disseminate information on other issues which impact the community and the children of the school: AIDS/HIV, hygiene, sexual health, birth control, etc.
The community participates in the school’s sporting and social events, helps with school projects, and maintenance of buildings and gardens. A labour pool can be summoned very quickly when needed.
Children’s homes are visited on a regular basis to ensure all is well and support is given where necessary.
Livelihood programmes (community savings and loans/upskilling) designed to promote greater earning capacity are also available through sister projects.
The "nurture package, the very special education, exceptional staff and the community all have a crucial role in achieving the goal".
Without this packaged education for these children is unsustainable
A crucial role is played by social support staff who visit children’s homes, liaise with the community, and identify and resolve problems.
In line with its commitment to build literacy in Ethiopian schools and share its professional development with fellow Ethiopian teachers, The School of St. Yared hosts intensive workshops in phonics teaching.
Jolly Phonics is a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy. Many teachers from both private and government schools participate.
This training is a first step in St. Yared’s plans to develop a “Jolly Phonics Network” among schools in Addis Ababa. The initiative came to fruition because The School of St. Yared has been using Jolly Phonics for some years with a great degree of success.
In June 2014 the school leased a new compound ….. it was a rubble strewn building site. It had to be a functioning school by September. On day one of the construction 350 people from the community turned out to help. The school opened on time.
The "nurture package"
Achieving the goal – the key elements
More than a good formal education
The teaching programme
The teaching and social support team
The Community Commitment
Healing of the Home Room
For 20 minutes every day, immediately after lunch, teachers and students come together in a class group to reflect, socialise, and discuss activities that are not necessarily going on in the classroom. Home room teachers form a close bond with their students, and give them the social and emotional support which is often not available in their home environment.
This daily period is important in developing interpersonal skills with a trusted and respected adult, and with their classmates, in an intimate setting. These holistic “wrap around” services are essential in strengthening the character of a St. Yared’s student.
Family Planning advice for our parents
Mulu, the school’s health officer, conducting a family planning and reproductive health session at the local council offices for our parents. Mulu guides parents through the training and gives practical advice on areas of concern. Family health training is important for the well being of the community and an area where the school’s programmes make a significant difference.