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In Africa, Our Best Teachers are Our Children

by Sherri Le Mottee
March/April 2017
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/in-africa-our-best-teachers-are-our-children/5023458/

Take a Leaf from Africa’s Book 

Take a moment to visualise the African child. Does your mind’s eye take you to popular tourist images of smiling brown-faced children in traditional clothes, beating drums and dancing? Or perhaps you think of the types of disheartening photos of children that are frequently used to raise money for relief organizations. These kinds of images are not unusual; the media feeds them to us, as do the big data reports on the status of children on our continent. Though arguably advancing the rights of the many, many children who are indeed affected by multiple deprivations in Sub-Saharan Africa, what they don’t tell us is about the upside of growing up African.

Most of the globally espoused scientific evidence about the impact of early childhood experience and interventions on children’s growth and development are based on research undertaken in so-called developed countries with little attention to African child care practices. Adding the richness of African knowledge and experience to these international constructs could enrich and bolster global understanding of resilience building and play-based learning that is so innate to our children, parenting approaches, and traditional education principles. As challenging as our environment can be, the diversity of cultural ...

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