Building Bridges and Starting to Connect
Elspeth Dugdale | December 2, 2017
What is this new Connect Education Centre in Gulu?
The Connect Centre will offer support to primary children and teachers in the immediate community of Layibi, Gulu. Part of its purpose will be to provide booster classes to participating schools in English and Maths, plus extension sessions in other areas of the primary curriculum. There is also a well-stocked library of books, educational toys and resources for both children and teachers to use.
Is it the same as the Bridge?
Yes and No… The idea is based on The Bridge Primary Resource Centre at Lukomera, but in fact it will be quite different in structure and aims - and so achieve even more. The building is twice as big as The Bridge. As well as the English and Maths classrooms, it has its own Education Room, a larger library and a nursery classroom. Outside there is a shaded play area, sitting areas, paths, trees and grass.
water play area
What else is going on there?
The other main focus of the Connect Centre is to provide a base for teacher training – for both primary and nursery teachers. This will be run by our friend and colleague Jody Unterrheiner and her excellent organisation ‘READ for life’, which is already training teachers in over 50 schools in the Gulu area. Jody will be introducing her own nursery training course in 2018 – which will be based at the centre. Jody’s husband, Dan, played a vital role in overseeing the construction of the building from May to September, earlier this year.
Anyone else involved?
Most definitely – at this point we need to introduce Melissa Rogers, another Gulu friend and experienced educator. Melissa is going to be the ServeDirect Project Guardian in Gulu, (similar to Johannes and Gé); she will oversee the running of the Connect Centre and also help to support the curriculum teaching and development.
Both Jody and Melissa helped to locate the site for the Connect Centre and have been part of the numerous discussions and meetings over the last few years that have brought us to this point.
Also, we are taking on experienced teachers for English and Maths, together with a Library/Schools coordinator and a Library Assistant.
And why not call it Bridge 2 or a ‘Bridge Too Far’?
Much as we like the name ‘The Bridge’, the Connect Centre has a far broader remit to connect teachers, schools, children, books, resources, training and learning all together. The other reason is that we do not want to be confused with another organisation with a similar name, but has a different educational focus.
When will The Connect Centre open?
Many more preparations and plans will happen over the school holidays, and then it will be ‘open for business’ for the new school year in early February. Exciting times ahead!