Thursday, 11 August 2011


Opening the Happy House nursery school back in January was a huge step, but one that has got our children leaping ahead in their education.
Our aim is not just to give our children a head-start but,  by taking children of local business people as fee-paying pupils, eventually (when in profit) to give free places, plus uniform, books, shoes and meals, to some of the most disadvantaged children from the local area whose parents are so poor they cannot afford the the obligatory books, uniform and shoes to access free Government schooling.
Our school is also setting new standards, by introducing teaching methods, new to Kenya, and by adding art and music to the syllabus.
The teachers have embraced changes with enthusiasm, encouraged by the rapid progress of their pupils, and the kids are just flying!
Sandra Foulkes, who retired last year as the head of Singleton CE School, near Blackpool, visited the Happy House last year and rhas eturned again this summer. 
Sandra has been a keen supporter of the Happy House for several years and sponsors twins Sauma and Pendo.
As a headteacher of many years experience Sue  asked Sandra to cast her expert eye over our school.
This is her report:

"Eight years ago I went, with several other teachers , to Senegal to look at creativity in the educational system!

This trip was a real eye opener to the group. Lessons were taken in crumbling, concrete classrooms with the pupils, seventy to a class, sitting on planks of wood across old petrol barrels. The staff were wonderful and doing a brilliant job with three sticks of coloured chalk and an old blackboard! The children were fantastic and eager to learn but "creativity" was never on the agenda.

The pupils, God bless them, sat listening to the teacher talk. The older ones wrote notes in dog eared exercise books and when we took a lesson and distributed craft materials the children didn't know what to do as they had never seen glue, coloured paper and scissors before!

What a difference at The Happy House School!

Sue asked me, as an ex head teacher, to wander around the school and report back! This proved to be an eye opening experience, especially in comparison with the Senegal schools and several others I had visited whilst in Kenya.

The Happy House classrooms are light and airy. The desks and chairs are like we have in England. The class numbers and classrooms are small. There is children's colourful art work on the walls. There is a well stocked library. There are structured reading books donated by Oxford Reading Tree. There is a computer room with computers which are actually working. There are musical keyboards. The staff are fantastic and enthusiastic and Rose, the head teacher, and her staff are very open and willing for ideas to move towards a creative curriculum.

Each week there is a special assembly to celebrate good work- this is a fantastic way of celebrating success and bringing the school together once a week and something we did every week at my own school in England. Lovely comments and positive praise are a wonderful free tool!

The one thing which is the same is that the children are very eager to learn and want to show off their skills to anyone who will listen.

The children are learning very well and responding positively to this type of teaching. The results from those children attending the local high school are excellent and we can only wait and see where these children will be in their adult life with this wonderful Happy House home and school."

*The children are pictured with some of the educational aids sent out by Sandra and Sandra is pictured with Lily and Evans.