At Children Assistance Program (CAP), Liberia, we run a school for 300 pupils between the ages of 2 and 12. When schools closed across Liberia on 16th March 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we worried that children would lose out on their education. We worked quickly to develop a programme of home learning, which was in place from May 2020.
Our model involves teachers preparing printed copies of lessons (both notes and homework) for parents to collect and carry out at home with their children. Meanwhile, teachers are on hand to provide support over the telephone.
- CAP’s 16 teachers prepare lessons for their classes. A copy is printed for each child and parents come into school to pick up lessons on a designated day of the week, in observance of health protocols.
- Each set of school work runs over a two week period. Parents are encouraged to support their children to carry out the work and, through regular phone contact, teachers help children and parents to work through any challenges in their understanding.
- Parents return the completed work for it to be marked, and then collect the next lesson from teachers.
- After marking the work, teachers give parents feedback to pass onto their children.
“We try as much as possible to explain the lessons and school work to parents – especially those with little education – in a way so they understand what to do while helping their children.”
Home learning has brought several challenges, such as the low education level of many of the parents which can make the process difficult. Sustainability of the programme is also a concern, as parents will normally pay a small fee for their children to attend school – yet many have been out of work during the pandemic and therefore struggle to pay the fees.
However, we have seen that many parents are now more invested in monitoring their children’s learning and progress than they were previously. We have also noticed the strengthening of relationships between parents and children as a result of this new way of working together.
Do you have any comments you can share with the community relating to our work, or learnings about how your organisation has approached home learning during the pandemic? Please share, or post any follow-up questions for us at CAP below - we'd love to hear from you.
The attached resources are part of the How We Care series, an innovative space for those working with children and families to share practice. By practitioners, for practitioners. Learnings from 2 other Family for Every Child members, on this theme, have been shared here.