Key Unit Competence: 

    To use language learnt in the context of early childhood welfare.

    5.1. Talking about early childhood education in Rwanda


     Reading and Text analysis

    • Text: Early childhood education 

     Early Childhood Education is a term that refers to educational programs and strategies geared toward children from birth to the age of six. This time period is widely considered the most vulnerable and crucial stage of a person›s life. Early childhood education often focuses on guiding children to learn through play. The term commonly refers to preschool or infant/childcare programs. 

     These early years of development are critical for providing a firm foundation in cognitive, language, and motor development, as well as social, emotional, regulatory, and moral development.

     Stimulating, nurturing, and stable relationships with parents and other caregivers are of prime importance to children’s healthy development, and the absence of these factors can compromise children’s development. 

    The individuals who comprise the early childhood care and education workforce are important providers of these early experiences. They form meaningful.

    bonds with the children in their care, and their interactions, behaviors, and teaching practices all influence children’s development, as well as their later school readiness. (NRC, 2001; Peisner-Feinberg et al., 2001; Pianta and Stuhlman, 2004). 

     The evolution of pre-primary education in Rwanda dates from independence. This education went through different reforms aiming at improving its services across the years. However, the situation declined with 1994 genocide against Tutsi. After the genocide, the government put efforts in reconstruction of various sectors but pre-primary education did not receive attention as all efforts were concentrated in primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education. The awareness of the importance of pre-primary education can be noted around 2000/2001 with an increase in number of pre-primary education centers from 138 to 257. This number was still too little as it was in the whole country.

     So far, a good number of preschools (2,757) have been established by individual people or parents’ associations, communities and religious organizations. This was due to the government initiatives and collaboration with different partners who invested in pre-primary education sector. Therefore, the government has to establish standards so as to effectively monitor the massive involvement of people and organizations offering pre-primary education services to young children. Failure to do so would allow service providers to compromise the quality of education services offered in the pre-primary education centers. 

     In the process of ensuring quality pre-primary education, some achievements can be noted such as the ECD policy with ECE components, integrated ECD strategic plan and pre-primary education competence based curriculum. There were also quality standards in education for nursery, primary and secondary schools in Rwanda produced by General Inspectorate of Education at REB in 2009. Since the document combines standards for all the three cycles, little room is given to pre-primary education such that many areas are not covered. These standards need to be updated and be expanded to cover all the learning areas as they are described in the play-based curriculum in line with school readiness preparation. 

     The delivery of pre-primary services needs to be monitored to make sure the quality is not compromised. In 2011, the Ministry of Education has drafted an ECD policy which will serve as a guiding document because pre-primary education service providers are partners in the implementation of policy recommendations. The policy was finalized and approved in 2016 by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) which has now ECD in its mandate. The policy made clear the role of each Ministry for effective implementation. The role of MINEDUC in the implementation of the policy includes regulating and supervising ECDE Programs and maintaining standards and quality assurance. The policy has five pillars for the implementation which local and international organizations refer to: Education, health, nutrition, child protection, hygiene and sanitation.

    For the implementation, MIGEPROF published, in 2016, the ECD minimum standards highlighting ECD services from 0-6 years. With these standards, the ECE section is not fully elaborated to prepare children for school readiness. 

     To monitor the quality of pre-primary education services delivered in preschools, pre-primary education standards are pivotal for emphasis on services given to children 3-6 especially on school readiness. This is in line with the ECD policy where one of its objectives is “to ensure that all children are ready to begin school at the right age and this may entail the special provision of rapid school readiness programmers.”

    • Comprehension questions 

    1. How would you define the term early childhood education?

    2. Assess the importance of early childhood education as discussed in the 


    3. Examine the challenges early childhood education faced before and after genocide against Tutsi. 

    4. Predict what would happen if the government does not put efforts in early childhood education.

    5. Explain the role each ministry mentioned in the passage play early child education.

    6. What are the ECD pillars that are mentioned in the passage?

    7. Based on the text above, identify the objectives of ECD?

    Every weekday children are dropped off at early childhood centers to be cared for and assisted in their development for anywhere from one hour to 12 hours. Children spend a significant number of their 24-hour day in the care of early childcare professional, yet as educators we tend not to think too deeply about their life outside of the centre. When they are misbehaving, we tend to blame it on a child’s natural demeanour, rather than think systematically about their familial, social, and community life outside of the center and how those factors may be influencing their actions.

     This article focuses on conveying how childcare providers can more successfully assist in a child’s development by viewing children in their care in the context of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. 

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a psychological theory developed by Abraham Maslow in 1943 which argues that humans have different levels of needs. The needs are tiered as displayed in the image above. At the base of the pyramid are

    basic human needs (food, water, clothing, etc.), and at the top is self-actualization (the finding of purpose). Each intermediary level builds upon the level below it. In other words, in order for a child’s safety and security needs to be met, their basic human needs need to first have been met. Once basic human needs are met, then relationship needs can be met, then once relationship needs are met, than achievement needs can be met, and finally once all other needs are met, then the need for self-actualization can be met. 

     As educators we need a comprehensive understanding of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, because it provides us with a larger context to relate their behaviors and actions. 

    We often view the way a child behaves as singular rather than as a part of their broader life. Are they hungry? Is their home safe? Have they had access to water in the last few hours? By thinking about these questions it forces us as educators to ponder whether or not there may be other reasons for a child’s behaviour than the events that have just occurred. 

     When more immediate needs are not met such as one’s needs for food and safety, it becomes increasingly unlikely that a child will be able to behave, learn, and listen to the best of their ability. Maslow has classified needs in five essential categories. The first category is Basic Human Needs. These needs are at the core of what is needed to function as a human being. 

    They are essential to our survival. They include but are not limited too: food, water, shelter, and clothing. Once basic Human Needs are met, the next need that arises is Safety and Security. According to him, to thrive and live healthy lives, humans need a sense of safety and security. Safety and security can be summarized as “consistency and predictability.” Humans, especially kids thrive in routine, and in an environment in which they are comfortable. 

    After feeling safe and secure the next need in the hierarchy is Healthy Relationships. A life without healthy relationships is not a healthy life. Children rapidly develop, and a caring adult can make all the difference. Healthy relationships can be defined as relationships that are emotionally, physically, psychologically or spiritually appropriated. As soon as one has Healthy Relationships, the next need is achievement. We sometimes think of achievement as something that adults seek out, but not kids. 

    This is not true. Kids need to achieve just as much as adults do, but their achievements are different and developmentally appropriate. For example an achievement for a five year old may be coloring a picture “within the lines,” which often provides a feeling best characterized by the phrase, “I did it!” 

    Lastly, Self Actualization comes as the last need on Maslow’s classification of needs. The phrase Self Actualization is sometimes confusing and can be

    thought of as a child’s ability to rise, to act creatively, to dream, to act without fear, and to find purpose. Essentially, self-actualization means feeling that we are doing what we feel we are meant to do. In conclusion, as far as the learning environment is concerned, it should reflect the importance of children by including examples of their work in progress, finished products, and by displaying images of children. 

    Every child in the program must see examples of themselves and their family throughout the center, not just in the classroom. Visual images are an important part of developing a feeling of belonging in all children, so it is important to display pictures of single parent families, grandparent families, and homes of every kind of people, as well as adoptive families.


     Comprehension questions 

    1. What is the focus discussed in the above article?

    2. Identify different needs described by Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.

    3. Why is it important to understand children’s needs as an educator? 

    4. Evaluate different needs described in the text according to Maslow and relate them to early childhood education.

    5. How would you describe the environment in terms of early childhood needs?

    6. Suggest different pieces of advice to caregivers on how to handle a child with special needs. Choose any type of special needs. 

    • A text: Parental involvement in child education 

    Children’s development of the cognitive and social skills needed for later success in school may be best supported by a parenting style known as responsive parenting. Responsiveness is an aspect of supportive parenting described across different theories and research frameworks (e.g. attachment, socio-cultural) as playing an important role in providing a strong foundation for children to develop optimally. 

    Parenting that provides positive affection and high levels of warmth and is responsive in ways that are contingently linked to a young child’s signals (“contingent responsiveness”) are the affective-emotional aspects of a responsive style. These aspects, in combination with behaviour that are cognitively responsive to the child’s needs, including the provision of rich verbal input and maintaining and expanding on the child’s interests, provide the range of support necessary for multiple aspects of a child’s learning. 

    Acceptance of the child’s interests with responses that are prompt and contingent to what the child signals supports learning, in part, by facilitating the child’s development of mechanisms for coping with stress and novelty in his or her environment.

     With repeated positive experiences, trust and bond develop between the child and parent, this allows the child to ultimately internalize the trust and then generalize their learning to new experiences. This sensitive support promotes the child’s continued engagement in learning activities with his or her parent.

     Thus, these affective-emotional behaviours communicate the parent’s interest and acceptance, fostering self-regulation and cooperation, critically important behaviours for effective learning to occur. From a socio-cultural viewpoint, cognitively responsive behaviours (e.g. maintaining versus redirecting interests, rich verbal input) are thought to facilitate higher levels of learning because they provide a structure or scaffold for the young child’s immature skills, such as developing attention and cognitive capacities. 

    Responsive behaviours in this framework promote joint engagement and reciprocity in the parent-child interaction and help a child learn to assume a more active and ultimately independent role in the learning process.

     Responsive support for the child to become actively engaged in solving problems is often referred to as parental scaffolding, and is also thought to be key for facilitating children’s development of self-regulation and executive function skills, behaviours that allow the child to ultimately assume responsibility for their well-being. 

    Throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region, more and more emphasis is being placed on early education and care in recent years. From ensuring primary education for all and updating curricula of primary schools to ensure the right environment at home for early childhood development, the aforementioned emphasis is both widespread and diverse. Despite a lot of investment in education by governments in the region, children in these

    countries are not learning enough and their academic results or outcomes do not match those of children in other countries outside the region. 

    As school systems reach massive levels of participation with the youth bulge growing in the MENA region, concerns about the relevance and quality of education has intensified with the primary school curriculum being in the spotlight. When children experience quality early education and care, their short-term cognitive, social and emotional development take a boost. Similarly, early education and care facilitates their long-term success in academics and even later life.

     Parents have a crucial part to play to ensure early childhood development in their children. Involved parents can make a positive and lasting impact on their children’s learning ability.

     Children who are properly stimulated from birth to age five by their parents tend to perform better than other children in the long run. What this means is that these children are more likely to complete their schooling, perform better academically, and lead healthier and more productive lives as adults. On the ground, this stimulation takes the form of being ready to, attending preschool, and having parents who are aware of the school curriculum. During the first five years, the brain’s synaptic networks are still in the process of forming. This is when children’s development is particularly receptive to human contact. How parents interact with their children and engage them in cognitive, social, and emotional developmental activities in these years defines their future selves. 

    Children’s development of the cognitive and social skills needed for success later in school is supported by responsive parenting. Responsiveness plays an important role in providing a strong foundation for children to develop optimally. This includes positive affection and high levels of warmth in combination with behaviors that are cognitively responsive to the child’s needs. Parent involvement in early childhood education can extend the experiences that a child has inside the classroom to actual activities that happen in the home.

     Parents who are in tune with the primary school curriculum and keep themselves updated with what is happening in their children’s classroom are better able to establish a connection between home and school. This connection is a key component of a child’s development and supporting further learning creates a positive experience for them. This, in turn, helps them perform better academically. 

     Thus, young children’s acquisition of problem-solving, language, and socialemotional skills are facilitated by interactions with their parents. Parents becoming more involved during the early childhood development period also promotes school-readiness, which ensure they stay in school and with a lower grade repetition rates. 67 Early interventions are not only long-lasting but also much more economical when compared to repairing problems that develop as a result of delayed or damaged development. Access to quality early childhood education and care can strengthen the foundations of lifelong learning for all children. It is thus crucial to develop strategies to empower and educate parents on how to provide a stimulating, loving and protective environment at home.

     A good example of a state that’s incorporated parents into the education system brilliantly is Jordan. The state runs a Parental Involvement Initiative set out to introduce parents into kindergartens, making them aware of the primary school curriculum, acquainting them with the teaching methods used, and the philosophy explaining the routines followed. 

    It aims also at enriching the classroom environment through tapping into the experiences and expertise of parents in facilitating children’s learning. A parent who understands what their child is working on at preschool has a better sense of their child’s competency and which areas they need to work on to improve. 

    They can then facilitate this improvement. Policies which set out to improve early child development must also take care of complementary strategies linked to the different environments that surround a child. This is a challenging task but very much possible by ensuring that there is consistency in both philosophy and strategy between government policies and actual action.

     In the midst of conflicts in the MENA region, perhaps a commitment to early childhood development would be one thing the various factions, all of whom want the best for their children, could come together and make progress on. 

     Children are every parent’s greatest joy and every country’s greatest resource. Investing in them during their critical early years is one of the greatest gifts parents, educators, and the government can give them and one of the smartest moves to make for the future of the world.


    • Comprehension questions

    1. How can we maximize child’s learning opportunities according to the passage?

    2. Explain the following term as used in the passage, “parental scaffolding?”

    3. Identify different areas of development that children should be supported on.

    4. To what extent do you think parental involvement can help early child hood education development? explain

    5. How would you draw the conclusion of the above text if you were in the position of the author?

    6. What would be your recommendations to parents and caregivers about early childhood education?

    5.4. Spelling and pronunciation 

    Use dictionaries and thesaurus to find the missing pronunciation and meaning of the given words in the following table.

    5.5. Language structure: Modal verbs(should, dare, need) and degree of adjectives 

    1. Modal verbs: should, dare, need

    A. Should 

    • Note:

    “Should” is a modal verb most commonly used to make recommendations or 

    give advice. It can also be used to express obligation as well as expectation.


    • When you go to Kenya, you should visit pre-primary schools in Nairobi.


    • You should focus on your children’s education in their early childhood. 


    • I really should be in the office by 7:00 am. (Expectation/Obligation)

    • By now, they should already be in Musanze ECD centers. (Expectation)

    N. B: in past context, we use should+ have+ p. participle to mean that something was necessary but it wasn’t done.


    a. Pamela should have brought her child to school last week. (She didn’t bring the child)

    b. Peter should have learnt how to teach young children (he didn’t learn it)

    c. You shouldn’t have eaten too much. (you ate too much: criticism)

    B. Dare


    a. If there is a lizard in the room, our children who are in early childhood period do not dare to sleep there alone.

    b. Even nursery children do not dare to enter into his office without permission.

    c. She dared not ask her mother for more toys.

    • Notes 

    ‘Dare’ can be used both as a modal auxiliary verb as well as main verb. It is also 

    known as semi modal verb. 

    • Use of ‘dare’ as a main verb

    As a main verb ‘dare’ is used as an ordinary verb and has the same three forms 

    of verb and used as per the rules of different tenses. 


    a. He dares to stand in front of you.

    b. Sandra did not dare to disobey her parents.

    c. I do not dare to say a single word against my pre-primary kid.

    d. He will not dare to resign from teaching in early childhood school.

    e. Will you dare to complain against your boss?

    • Use of ‘Dare’ as a modal verb

    ‘Dare’ as a Modal is used to express courage to do something or to challenge. It is normally used in Negative and Interrogative sentences only. As Modal Verb, ‘Dare’ has no past tense.


    a. Dare she say so in front of me?

    b. Parents dare not do anything wrong in front of the children.

    • Expressions with the verb dare

    1. I dare say

    ‹I dare say› has almost the same meaning as ‹probably› or ‹I expect›, ‹I suppose›, 

    ‹I think it is likely›.

    a. I dare say you are right.

    b. I dare say he will come later.

    c. It’ll rain tomorrow, I dare say.

    2. How dare you (he, she, etc.) do something = How can you (he, she, etc.)

    be so rude and bold = I am very surprised and shocked by what you are doing.

    a. How dare he speak to you like that? (I wonder at such impudence.)

    b. How dare he accuse me of lying!

    c. How dare you listen to a private conversation?

    4. You dare! / Don’t you dare! These expressions are used to discourage people from doing things they shouldn’t (for example by mothers):

    a. Mother, can I draw a picture on the wall?’ – ‘You dare!’

    b. I’ll tell her about it. - Don’t you dare!

    C. Need


    a. She needed some money to buy dolls.

    b. My pre-school teachers do not need my guidance. 

    c. They do not need to act upon my advice.

    • Notes 

    ‘Need’ can be used both as a modal auxiliary verb as well as main verb. It is also 

    known as semi modal verb.

    • Use of ‘Need’ as a main verb


    a. Does my pre-primary kid need my attention?

    b. I will need to stay in a hotel during early childhood training.

    • Use of ‘Need’ as modal verb

    ’Need’ as a modal verb is used to express necessity. It is used in negative and 

    interrogative sentences only. As a modal verb, ‘need’ has no past tense. 


    a. Parents need learn about early childhood education

    b. ECD centers in Rwanda need more qualified teachers.

    ‘Need’ in Perfect Tense is used to express that it would have been correct if the 

    work was not done or the manner in which the work done didn’t need to be done in that manner.


    a. She need not have gone with her kid.

    b. Those pre-primary children need not have entered in the prohibited area.

    c. You need not have disclosed the secret to little children.

    2. Degrees of comparisons for adjectives

    In English there are three degrees of comparison: inferiority, equality, and superlative.

    1. Inferiority : 

    The inferiority is expressed by : not as +adj.+ as; not so +adj.+as; less+adj.+than; adjective of minor value+ than


    a. Adults people are not as interested in games as kids.

    b. Nadine is not so tall as James.

    c. Louis is less intelligent than Divine

    d. Sarah is shorter than her sister.

    2. Equality


    • Early Childhood Education should be as useful as any other education level.

    • Ivan is as tall as Jane. 

    • Kabeza nursery school isn’t as good as Itetero nursery school


    • Who is the quickest learner of your class?

    • The most difficult thing in life is to manage different personalities.

    • Rachel was the most excited of all


    I. Write comparative sentences using the verbs in brackets 

    1. My nursery class is (big) _____________than yours. 

    2. This flower is (beautiful) _________________than that one. 

    3. A holiday by the sea is (good) ____________than a holiday in the mountains. 

    4. The weather this summer is even (bad) __________than last summer. 

    5. I think early childhood course is (difficult) _____________than English. 

    II. Complete the sentences using comparatives.

    1. Joe’s car isn’t very fast. He wants a __________ one. 

    2. My job isn’t very interesting. I want to do something ___________________ 

    3. The weather isn’t very warm today. Yesterday it was ___________________ 

    4. People aren’t very polite today. In the past they were ___________________ 

    5. This sofa isn’t very comfortable. That one is _____________________

    6. This coat is nice, but I think the other one is ______________ Write three 

    sentences using comparative adjectives

    III. Discuss the role of the religions in running pre-schools in Rwanda. Pay 

    attention to the use of degree of comparison and modal verbs (should, need, dare).

    IV. Write a composition about duties and responsibilities of parents and caregivers.

    6.9. Key Rwandan Values

    Reading and analysis of the text

    • Text: Celebrating Rwanda’s Cultural Values

    The national harvest day was an event that came second to the enthronization
    of a new king. “Umuganura”-literally “Thanks Giving day” was performed by
    Rwandans at the beginning of every harvest. It was a very big event in the
    kingdom as Rwandans celebrated the achievements in terms of harvest both at
    the kingdom and family level.

    The trace for this event, when exactly it was first celebrated remains evasive;
    no exact date is pronounced as to when this event could have been introduced
    in Rwanda. But research in this field connects it with the introduction of
    agriculture in Rwanda during the 3rd century.

    In the beginning of the celebration of ‘Umuganura’ Rwandans focused mainly
    on staple foods like sorghum and finger millet. From history, the celebration
    of ‘Umuganura’ used to be a unifying factor for all Rwandans through acts of
    sharing what they had produced either at the family level, in the village or
    as a kingdom. The rich and the poor, the higher and middle families all came
    together and shared what they had without exclusion as a form of promoting
    Rwandan cultural values.

    As a form of preserving Rwandan Culture, the celebration of ‘Umuganura’ educates
    the young generation on the value and power of safeguarding the past legacy
    for edutainment purposes. At the heart of every Rwandan in and outside the
    country, the event helps raise awareness among Rwandans, friends of Rwanda
    and policy makers on how the ‘Umuganura’ celebration was a very significant
    part in creating unity in diversity. This kind of tradition in Rwanda always brings
    to view the past with the positive cultural values that we can use to build, unite

    and reconcile Rwanda as a nation.

    Adapted from TheNewTimeshttps://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/

    • Comprehension questions
    1. Describe the national harvest day in the history of Rwanda.
    2. Explain how the harvest day plays a unifying role for all Rwandans.
    3. Assess the contribution of the harvest day for preserving the Rwandan


    4. How can cultural values brought in your mind by the harvest day be used

    to build Rwanda as a nation?

    6.10. Language structure: Adverbs of time and adverbs of place
    • Notes
    I. Adverbs of time
    Adverbs of time modify the meaning of a sentence by telling us when, for how
    long, an action happens. Many adverbs of time are the same as adverbs of
    frequency. There is quite a bit of overlap between these two types of adverbs.

    Here are some examples of adverbs of time:
    • yesterday
    • today
    • tomorrow
    • later
    • now
    • last year
    • since 1999/Monday/3 o’clock etc.,
    • all day/month/week etc.,
    • for a week/a year/a 100 years etc.,
    Adverbs of time tell us when an action happened, but also for how long, and how often.
    Some adverbs tell us how often express the exact number of times an action
    happens or happened. These adverbs are usually placed at the end of the
    sentence. Many adverbs that express frequency can also be placed at either the
    beginning or the end of the sentence.

    Yet is used in questions and in negative sentences to indicate that something
    that has not happened or may not have happened but is expected to happen.
    It is placed at the end of the sentence or after not. Still expresses continuity. In
    positive sentences it is placed before the main verb and after auxiliary verbs
    such as be, have, might, will. If the main verb is to be, then place still after it
    rather than before. In questions, still goes before the main verb.

    a. We are going to church on Sunday for prayer but we fear that we don’t know their culture.
    b. She is going to have a baby soon being in a foreign country.
    c. My father went to Chile last year for a vacation.
    d. We eventually went to a pub after eating.
    e. He has already been to Canada three times but he does not know their
    II. Adverbs of place
    Adverbs of place tell us about an aspect of location associated with the action of
    a verb, specifying the direction, distance, movement, or position involved in the
    action. They are specific to actions of verbs and they cannot be used to modify
    adverbs or adjectives.

    Simple rules for adverbs of place:
    • An adverb of place always expresses about the location where the
    action of the verb is being carried out.
    • Adverbs of place can be directional. For example: Up, down, north,
    around, southwest, away
    • Adverbs of place can denote distances. For example: Nearby, far away,
    miles apart
    • Many adverbs of place specify movement in a specific direction and
    end in the letters “-ward or -wards”. For example: Toward, forward,

    backward, homeward, westward, eastwards onwards

    • An adverb of place can point out an object’s position in relation to
    another object. For example: Below, between, above, behind, through,
    around and so forth.

    As far as the position of adverbs of place in a sentence is concerned, adverbs
    of place generally appear immediately after the main verb in a sentence if it
    is intransitive, or else after the verb’s object if it is transitive.

    a. We were walking north. (intransitive—adverb follows the verb)
    b. He kicked the ball into the field. (transitive—adverb follows the object)

    N.B. We can use prepositions to talk about:
    1. Places or locations.
    a. He was standing by the pool.
    b. You’ll find it in the lobby.
    c. Sign your name here, at the end of the page.
    d. The compartment door is very small so it’s difficult to get into it.
    2. Direction

    a. Walk past the bank and keep going to the end of the highway.
    b. We were in London. Birmingham was 250 kilometers away.
    3. Distance
    a. Birmingham is 250 kilometers from London.
    b. He is sitting at a hundred meters from his house.

    I. Put the right word to complete each of these sentences.
    1. Close the door when you go ___________.
    2. The baby is hiding down there under the table.
    3. The cat is hiding_______________ the couch.
    4. Will you be starting your plants ________________ or in a greenhouse?
    5. The ship sailed ________________, encountering heavy weather along the

    6. When she saw me waiting, she ran __________________ me.

    7. __________________ you live, I will come to that place to live.
    8. He led the caravan, __________________ he wanted to go.
    9. What are you doing _________there?
    10. ________________we went, people greeted us warmly as they do it in their
    II. Write a paragraph using adverbs of time, place and comparison of

    adjectives talking about cultural diversity.

    6.11. End unit assessment