African Educational Projects

The purpose of these successfully tested African educational projects is to provide support for the curriculum and give schools an option of celebrating harvest festival differently from the traditional way, to give teachers opportunity of trying out other methods of teaching about other places, thereby making it possible and desirable to allow the influences from the diverse cultures in our society to permeate the curriculum and ethos of the school as a whole.

It is also to explore other celebrations to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and to give the children a chance to learn that the world extends beyond their own locality.

Have a look at these sample projects:

  • Yam Festival

  • Naming and Outdooring Ceremony

  • Mask Dancing Festivals

  • Christmas in Ghana

Yam Festivalyams

Objectives

  • Learn about Ghana – geography, people and festivals
  • Improve reading, speaking and listening
  • Participate in drama activity
  • Learn to play rhythms from Ghana

Programme

Crops

  • Food crops and cash crops of Ghana
  • How they grow and what they look like

Harvest Festivals

  • Harvest festivals in Ghana and what it means to Ghanaians
  • Remembrance of people who are no longer alive
  • Migratory anniversaries
  • Thanksgiving and religious celebrations
  • Fixing the date
  • Preparations for the festivals
  • Rituals and bans imposed
  • Discuss the similarities and differences of the children’s experience and knowledge of harvest festival in England and Ghana
  • Discuss crops that are harvested in Britain and foreign crops they come across in supermarkets

Workshops

  • Drama, reading and drama dance
  • Rhythms and drumming
  • Learn about the drums and the part they play in festivals
  • Learn to make body rhythms
  • Learn to apply the rhythms to the drums
  • Create polyrhythm for performance
  • Bringing all the information gathered together for a performance

Cooking

    This may be carried out by another class, left out or treated separately

  • Cooking utensils and food in Ghana
  • Eating habits
  • Staple foods and snacks
  • Development education and fair trade

Performance

  • Introduction to harvest festival in Ghana
  • The story read or told with some drama
  • Drumming
  • Dancing

Criteria

  • Age Range 6 years and above (drumming will be modified for 6/7 year olds as they may not provide the music for the dancers in which case appropriate recorded music will be used)

Resources

  • Most of the resources will be supplied by Miso’shi
  • School to provide hall or prepared classroom and cassette tape player, High-backed chairs

Naming and Outdooring Ceremony

Objectives

  • Learn about a different culture
  • Improve listening and speaking skills
  • Participate in a drama activity
  • Develop public speaking

Programme

Celebrations

  • Celebrations and what they mean to us
  • Different types of celebrations
  • Rites of passage – discussion (older children)
  • How we remember what we are celebrating
  • What and who do we celebrate with
  • Our first memorable celebration

The Ceremony

  • The stages
  • Choosing names for Ghanaian children
  • Who can come and who cannot come and why
  • The invitation and preparation
  • The rituals and symbolisms of the ceremony
  • What it means to Ghanaians and the rest of the world

What the ceremony teaches us – symbolism

  • The child
  • The relationship between the child and other adult members including old people
  • The role of adults in the community

Workshops

EITHER

  • Drama of the Outdooring

OR

  • Drama and storytelling of a Ghanaian naming and Outdooring ceremony

OR

  • Drama-dance of the ceremony using recorded music
  • Songs and games of childhood days

Performance

  • Introduce Ghana
  • Tell the story of a naming ceremony with songs and games

Criteria

  • Age Range – from 6 years and above
  • Group Size – whole class
  • Duration – whole day

Resources

  • Miso’shi will supply all resources
  • School to make available hall space

Follow Up

  • Follow-up
  • Freeze frames of rites of passage for older pupils

Mask Dancing Ceremonies

Objectives

  • Learn and develop an understanding of the art of other cultures through design and stories
  • Finding out and designing West African forms of art
  • Improve coordination
  • Understanding colours in the arts of other cultures
  • Create narratives from mood using, feel, gestures, poise and space

Programme

  • History of West African masks (with references to Gombey and Jonkunno)
  • A look at West African masks – materials and symbolisms
  • Stories about masks from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, Bermuda and Jamaica
  • Comparison between Heraldry, Scottish Clans and West African Secret Societies
  • Collect information during the workshop and develop them for the performance
  • Drumming workshops
  • Mask making and Dancing workshops

Workshops

Mask making

  • Designing and decorating masks
  • Developing stories for a mock mask festival

Mask dancing

  • Narratives of the what the mask represents using shapes, turns, travel and mood
  • Responding to drum rhythm for movements

Drumming

  • Rhythms and improvisation
  • Compositions

Performance and presentation

  • Presentation of all the information gathered during the course of the programme
  • Mask dance performance to drums or recorded music

Criteria

  • Age Range – from 6 years and above
  • Group Size – whole class
  • Duration – Open to discussion

Resources

  • Card, raffia or string, paint, scissors, empty boxes, pulses, drinking straws

Follow Up

  • Mathematical shapes and sizes of patterns and masks.

 

Christmas in Ghana

Objectives

  • Learn how a universal festival is celebrated in a tropical country
  • Explore the moral significance of the Christmas message
  • Explore the development education aspects of Christmas

Programme

   Geographical position of Ghana and how that has a bearing on

  • Weather at Christmas
  • Food at Christmas
  • The festive Tree
  • Light and dark
  • The economic conditions and giving gifts in Ghana
  • The symbol of THE CHILD in all traditions (presenting a child in Ghana)

Workshops

EITHER

  • Make symbolic trees and decorate them
  • Ghanaian symbols from Adinkra and other patterns as gifts
  • Presenting a child in Ghana
  • Write short stories or poems about the symbols, or Christmas
  • Learn a song, dance and compose a piece of music

OR

  • Develop a Ghanaian story

Performance

  • Work on the results of the workshop for presentation

Criteria

  • Age Range – all ages
  • Group size – class size
  • Resource – cards, cane or willow, paint, paper, strings

Resources

  • Card, raffia or string, paint, scissors, empty boxes, pulses, drinking straws

Follow Up

  • Writing about the project