Site: A.U.Highway, Tranquil Village, Near Brufut, Kombo North




Over the past three decades, early childhood education facilities in The Gambia have evolved from being virtually nonexistent to becoming primarily day care settings. However, over the last five to ten years, they have gradually become more intellectually stimulating environments for children from birth to six years of age.
The current Education Policy in the Gambia embraces the Basic/Elementary and Secondary Levels of education. The 6-3-3-2 Education Policy adopted by the Gambia in early ninetees and supported by the World Bank, allows for six years of Elementary or Basic education; three years of Middle school; three years of Senior high school, and two years of Post secondary education. Under the current policy, most Gambian children are, in principle, assured nine years of Pre-secondary education.

Most Gambian children enter first grade at age seven, and are immediately confronted with having to learn English; and for the majority, this is a totally unfamiliar language. Elementary schools are highly structured and children are faced with repeated tests and evaluations of academic abilities across a wide range of subjects. Generally, children who have not had the benefit of attending preschool will tend to struggle initially and be at a disadvantage compared to those who have had the opportunity to attend preschool from an earlier age. Good early childhood education offers a bridge and ensures children are socially, emotionally, and intellectually ready to enter Primary school.

Early childhood education facilities in The Gambia are predominantly owned and controlled by the private sector, with few community administered facilities. This has contributed to the great disparity of services provided to the various communities, and a chasm of difference in educational achievement on the part of children at the end of the Pre-school years.

Without doubt, children that are more privileged have access to better facilities and more highly trained staff. As a result, these children tend to enter the formal school sector (Elementary School) with a more secure academic foundation than their less fortunate counterparts in less affluent areas. This ultimately impacts future academic attainment, and quality of life.

During the last decade the Department of Education, in association with UNICEF, The Gambia College, and the Association for Early Childhood Education-The Gambia, have taken steps to standardize the quality of the early childhood educational services available throughout the country. To this end, a National Curriculum for Early Childhood Education was developed and the Gambia College now offers a Teacher Training Program for Early Childhood Educators.

Above: Teachers and students returning from a day field trip

​​​​​​About the Proprietor:

​Mrs. Patricia Ann McWilliam-Ceesay 
attained a Diploma of Education in higher learning from the Montessori Education Centre in Dublin, Ireland in 1996 and a Post-graduate Diploma of Education in Child Psychology and Development from the Stratford Career Institute in Washington DC, USA in 2002. 

In her first teaching job in September of 1985 when she first arrived in The Gambia, she was
appointed teacher at ST. Augustine’s High School where she taught English Language and English Literature for first and second formers. In 1989, she was appointed teacher at St. Joseph’s Ex-Pupils’ Primary, where she taught English to the Common Entrance classes. Shortly after that, she was appointed supervisor at Ndow’s Daycare and Nursery School, a post she held until June 2000 (11 years).

Between 1985 and 2000, Mrs. Ceesay served on numerous schools and Association Boards and Executive committees including the Marina International High school education committee and Ndow’s comprehensive and High school Board.
She has been a member of Soroptimist International since 1992; a professional women’s service organization with branches in Great Britain and Ireland. She served on several of the service committees of the club over the years and also notably held the Presidency for a year (1996-97).

Mrs. Ceesay is one of the founding members of the first Early Childhood Education Association in The Gambia.


​Guided by a commitment to the growth of the child, Trankil Academy aims:

• To improve the quality of education available to children within the community.
• To provide a safe and nurturing environment for young children.
• Increase accessibility to good early childhood and elementary education facilities.
• To help develop the motor and cognitive skills of the children to their full potential in the preparation of the child into his/her own person.
• To promote optimally the social, emotional, intellectual and moral development of young children.
• To improve the Readiness Skills of community children before entry to Primary School and the secondary level.
• To provide the opportunity for adults wishing to teach young children to
receive training in early childhood education. 


1. The institution provides both pre-school and primary education preparing children to enter high school. The academic year runs from the first half of September to the end of June with three separate school terms. Notices are forwarded for all scheduled school closings and openings. Trankil Academy observes all officially declared public holidays.
2. Classes begin daily at 8:00 AM and end at 2:00 PM Monday through Thursday and 12:00 Noon on Fridays with a 30 minute outdoor playtime each day.
3. The school gate opens at 7:30 AM for early drop off, which is the time Teachers arrive. Children arriving before 7:30 AM are not supervised therefore the school is not liable or accountable for any incidents that might occur before and after the school periods mentioned above.
4. The Academy offers an after school programme from 2:00-5:00 PM Monday through Thursday and 12:00-1:00 PM Fridays. This service allows working/busy parents to collect children later than the normal school pick up hours. During the after school programme, children are engaged in stimulating child centred activities. Registration forms for this service are available on request.
5. All children not enrolled in the after school programme who are collected later than the usual collection times will be charged a late collection fee. The reason for this is that children left uncollected after school demand a teacher staying behind to supervise those children.
6. All children are expected to participate in extra curricular activities. The school offers beginners foreign languages (French and Spanish). French club is offered 2 days per week (Mondays 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM for children 3-5 years of age and Wednesdays 2:00-3:30 PM for children 6 years and above). There is also Social and Environmental (SES) Club on Tuesdays 2:00pm – 3:00pm for children 5-7 years of age; and Thursdays for those children 8 years and above. These services are free of charge and are meant to enrich our children’s school experiences.
7. From October to June the Academy runs a children’s Saturday club that is held on Saturday mornings from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM except for National holidays that fall on Saturdays and also on the last Saturday of the month which is considered as SET SETTAL (community cleaning) day in Gambia. The Saturday club is open to any child above 3 years of age. There is a fee for Saturday club. Please enquire for the proper registration forms. 
8.. All Tuition and other school related fees are due on the first day of each term which is usually designated as a teachers’ preparation day and a fee paying day for parents. Children are not expected in school on that day. Children will be sent home after the first week if all fees are not settled.
9.. Parents are encouraged to send nutritious lunches and drinks for children daily which should be prepared and packaged appropriately. The children get a 30 minute break period daily when they eat their school lunch. Parents are encouraged to provide a variety of lunches including cooked lunches, sandwiches, fruits and vegetables that their children will eat. For drinks only juices and water are allowed. Carbonated soft drinks and sweets are not allowed as lunches. Soft drinks and sweets are usually only allowed on school party days.
10. Parent teacher conferences are held at the end of each term. However parents are encouraged to schedule individual meetings with the Director through out the academic year if they wish to discuss any relevant school matters concerning their children.
11. All children are expected to be in full school uniform on school days. Students are not allowed to wear any fashionable jewelry around the neck or arms. A simple silver bracelet on one hand is allowed.
12. The Director of Trankil Academy has had preliminary meetings with four reputable high schools in order to foster links in an effort to facilitate the transition of our pupils from the Elementary level to other high schools. The schools contacted are Marina International, Shiloh Bilingual Educational Centre (SBEC), The West African International School (WAIS), and Gambia Methodist Academy (GMA). The meetings have all been positive and we do not foresee any difficulty in our children gaining admission to any of the above mentioned schools as our programme will have adequately prepared them for the respective entrance exams. Regular updates will be provided to parents regarding scheduled dates for these entrance assessments.


View of main school block on left and new classroom block with Director's office below