Saturday, January 7, 2012

Our Students

This little guy is ready to discover and learn
Our littlest ones are 2 years old which is the time of their lives where they have become mobile enough to discover their surroundings.  We want to encourage their need for discovery rather than stifle that need inside a crowded classroom.

Our students come from an environment where the parents (mostly single moms, aunties or grandmas) are very busy trying to make ends meet.  They come to MDFT because it has an rare English immersion program which is not the norm in public schooling.  Parents also understand the special care and commitment that the MDFT teachers take with their children and the special education they will receive

By teaching them in the English language, they will have a better opportunity to find higher paying jobs within the hundreds of foreign companies currently investing in Tanzania.  In our Flood Garden learning model, they will also learn self-sufficiency which will prepare them to become job makers.

Could one of these girls be the one to discover the cure for  HIV/AIDS?
We are also very lucky to have a large number of girl students.  In Tanzania, girls with average to low education are second class citizens.  They will be subject to cultural submission and servitude to their husbands.  The lucky ones, might work for foreigners as menial workers and/or domestic servants.

Tanzanian women are a the biggest unseen force in the every day economy of their country and in their families.  They provide the day to day services that most take for granted.  They are the image of small commerce in the markets and streets.  I often wonder what would happen to the economy of the entire continent, if African market women went on strike for the month or even one day!! Food would be very hard to come by for most.

Even so, women are only expected to earn enough to get by but never enough to get ahead.

At MDFT, we want to use our Flood Garden as the ultimate science and social lab to encourage inquiry from the earliest age.  We want to challenge with the sometimes mindless repetition of conventional education and create a system where students learn to question their environment.  Questions lead to better understanding and better understanding leads to innovation.
5 year old Vanessa helping David create our fish pond to study water biology
Higher level mathematics are usually reserved for kids much older than those at MDFT. However, creating an outdoor classroom culture will allow us to introduce concepts like probability through game play, gardening and laughter.

Could this really be math homework?
Our students will probably never get an expensive education in city private schools or abroad.  They might never have access to the latest digital technology to resolve day to day issues.  However, we plan to teach them to learn from their current environment so that they will be the ones to improve it, even at a very early age.

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