How Eloisa Is Closing the Learning Gap
Strengthening Literacy and Numeracy With Games
A young girl in Mozambique stands in front of a blackboard that’s covered with the letters of the alphabet. She’s leading children through a song that links each letter to a common household item they know. Eloisa is just ten years old, but she’s a leader in her school’s reading club, helping her fellow students to strengthen their academic skills as they go back to school after long closures created by COVID-19.
Helping Her Peers Keep Learning
Schools in Mozambique closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, and they remained closed for 53 school weeks, including most of the 2020-2021 school year. Even when they were open, class size was reduced. Some children were only in schools on alternating days at best. Many more were out of school entirely.
The government of Mozambique, with help from Right To Play, launched nationally televised learning programs, but many homes in Mozambique don’t have televisions. Peer educators like Eloisa stepped up to help 5,300 students keep learning through reading clubs.
“It is good for me to teach kids my age, because they have the right to learn to read like me.” – Eloisa, 10
Eloisa is known as a junior leader. She uses games and fun activities to help her fellow children practice their vocabulary, grammar, and numeracy. She’s been a member of the club since August 2021, helping children in grades three, four, and five, her own grade.
Eloisa was asked to join the club because of her belief in the importance of reading, her strong literacy skills, and her belief in the importance of teaching. Her mother is a teacher, and Eloisa wants to be one just like her someday.
“In the reading club, I teach children to read and count well, just like I do. I like to use games and music because that way I feel more inspired and in an unnoticed way, we all end up learning,” she says. “It is good to learn in the reading clubs because we have a lot of fun.”
The clubs also share other important information with students. Some of the songs Eloisa leads children through teach them how to prevent COVID-19 transmission, while others focus on breaking down stereotypes about girls and boys.
“We learn that boys and girls can do the same things because they have the same rights,” Eloisa says.
Helping Kids Restart School Stronger Than Ever
Eloisa uses games and activities to make learning fun in the club. Making learning fun and approachable helps children become self-motivated learners while closing the learning gap that’s built up while they were out of school.
“In a relaxed way, children learn to read and count through music and using games. They learn a vowel, then a word, then a complete sentence and without the child realizing it, he already knows how to read a complete text,” she says.
“It is good to learn in the reading clubs because we have a lot of fun.” – Eloisa, 10
Now that schools have reopened in Mozambique, the clubs are helping close the learning gap after two years mostly out of school. Eloisa is excited about returning to school, but she’s even more excited to keep on teaching and help her fellow students master reading.
“It is good for me to teach kids my age, because they have the right to learn to read like me… to read beautiful things and write beautiful things” she says.
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In 2018, Right To Play launched the Gender Responsive Education and Transformation (GREAT) program with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. Active in three countries, Ghana, Mozambique and Rwanda, GREAT uses Right To Play's play-based learning approach to remove barriers to education, especially for girls, and to build teacher capacity to improve learning outcomes.