You remember this jam from the late ’80s, don’t you?  The one where Will Smith (at that time, still The Fresh Prince) assured “all the kids all across the land” that “there’s no need to argue, parents just don’t understand”?

Well, 30+ years later, The Toa Nafasi Project is making an attempt to ensure that parents start to understand, at least, about their children’s learning styles and potential difficulties in school.

This past week in Moshi, our staff began general informational meetings whereby we collaborate with the public school administrations in order to gather together parents of Standard One and Two students to let them know that Toa has a presence in their school, what we do and why we do it.

These meetings with the adults involved are the first step in rolling out the new year for Toa, running concurrently with our observation period of the children in which Toa tutors spend time watching and listening to the students before actually working with them.  During this phase which lasts roughly 4-6 weeks, our staff will observe the new students for academic prowess, physical limitations, social behaviors, and pretty much everything else that makes a kid a kid.  The reason for spending so much time observing is that we really want to establish a good baseline knowledge of each child before formally assessing him or her because it provides a much fuller picture than simply scores on paper.  The assessment is crucial as well, of course, but the observation beforehand lays the framework so that by the time we start testing in April, we already know the children, they know us, and there’s some ease and familiarity before the big test, which can be scary as it’s the first year of formal schooling and they are wholly unfamiliar with what’s about to happen to them!  This time can also be scary for the adults who are faced with costs and other responsibilities associated with their kids’ education and so knowing that Toa is there to help (in non-financial ways) can provide a bit of comfort.

This period pre-assessment also gives both students and parents as well as the schools time to settle into the new year, ask any questions they might have, get to know us and the Toa program, and become acquainted with Hyasinta and the tutors at each particular school site.

The meeting that took place last week was at Kiboriloni Primary School, one of our sites since 2016, and you can see Hyasinta act like a boss as she struts around the classroom, explaining the project with a confidence that I gotta say is almost as fulfilling as the turnout from the parents!!

So, to you all the kids all across the land / Take it from me / Parents are starting to understand!!!!