ACADEMY MONTESSORI EDUCATION CENTRE
A.U.Highway, Tranquil Village, Near Brufut, Kombo North
PROVIDING QUALITY INDIVIDUALIZED INSTRUCTION TO
CHILDREN IN THE GAMBIA
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.
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
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
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
Above: Teachers and students returning from a day field trip
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
• To provide the opportunity for adults wishing to teach
young children to receive training in
early childhood education.
SCHOOL INFORMATION AND SERVICES
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.
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
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
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.
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