Lively Minds Play Schemes

UNICEF Finalist
Lively Minds trains Kindergarten teachers and volunteer mothers to lead play-based learning schemes for young children in government schools located in rural communities of Ghana.
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Year launched: 
2008
Launch country: 

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting
Primary Approach: 
Implementer: 
Lively Minds
Primary Topic: 
Education level (ISCED): 

Location Data

State/Province: 
Northern & Upper East
Geography type: 
Program Description: 

Lively Minds tackles two major barriers to Early Childhood Care & Education in rural Ghana: poor quality Kindergarten education; and poor home-based care and stimulation. They do this through by training and empowering teachers and parents to provide creative & play-based activities for pre-school children using local resources. Thus, seeking to be a sustainable and replicable behaviour-change program that unlocks the potential of uneducated parents and encourages self-sufficiency, creativity and volunteerism.

Play Schemes: Lively Minds trains rural Kindergarten teachers to run educational Play Schemes in the Kindergarten. The teachers are then supported by Lively Minds staff and by District Education officers to train 30 Volunteer Mothers from the community as kindergarten assistants - circumventing the challenges of large class sizes and teacher absenteeism.  The Volunteer Mothers are predominantly uneducated and are often marginalized in their communities. Once trained, the Volunteer Mothers attend Kindergarten in sessions throughout the week and assist the teacher to teach the children using educational games made from cheap local materials and using interactive discovery-based methods. Teaching is in small groups (1:5 child-parent ratio).  Children learn through play participating in five different skill-sets to enhance cognitive and socio-emotional development.   Health and hygiene activities are incorporated.

As this is a behavior change program, the progam provides a two-year support package to reinforce new behaviors and to provide further capacity-building opportunities. Kindergarten teachers are trained to run regular parenting and 'second chance learning' workshops for the Volunteer Mothers. These workshops incentivize the Volunteer Mothers and improve their home-based play and care, confidence and well-being.  District Education officials and Lively Minds staff monitor and supervise Schemes regularly on a diminishing basis to quality control and provide top-up training. High performing teachers are promoted and go on to train neighbouring teachers and Volunteer Mothers.

Lively Minds also supports Reading Schemes.

Reading Schemes: Lively Minds  provides schools with children's books and trains P5 & P6 teachers and students (the top two years of primary schools) to run Reading Schemes for lower primary students. Teachers facilitate. The aim is to foster interest in reading,  imagination and comprehension. Therefore reading is in small groups in the local language. The focus is on story-telling, picture-reading, and interactive questioning. 

Lively Minds is one of the 10 Champions of the LEGO Foundation and Ashoka's Re-Imagine Learning Challenge.