Toodler Academy

- Who are you?
- Little Ghanaian.
- What is your symbol?
- Bright smile.
- Where do you live?
- In Duaga, Ghana.
- What do you like?
- Ball playing.
- Do you love Ghana?
- I love sincerely.
- And what do you believe in?
- I believe in dancing!

In every latitude, the kindergarten academy is an important chapter, with a capital C! And a big C... As it is quite a Challenge for teachers to prepare an interesting performance for everyone. It is an effort for the child to memorise his or her poem. It is also an important performance and a lot of fun. The whole thing makes a wonderful impression and evokes great gratitude.
In mid-August, I had the opportunity to witness in person an end-of-year academy in the Ghanaian village of Duaga, at the Janusz Korczak institution, founded a few years ago and run by Monika (formerly Kaczmarzyk) Quarcoo. It was quite a treat to experience real African energy for a moment! And there was plenty to appreciate! :) It started very hesitantly, with quiet rhymes, which were quiet because they were difficult, and difficult because they were in English, which, although it is the official language in Ghana, is still quite a foreign language at the age of three and four, as the local Fante language is spoken in the homes. Later, English becomes the leading language throughout schooling, but I will talk about this later The rhymes stopped; the language changed - to the universal language of music! And then the party was on! In Europe, we are supposed to know that Africans have rhythm and dance in their blood, but "supposedly knowing" is one thing, but experiencing it with one's senses is quite another! The energy of the rhythms coming from the loudspeakers and the live drums put the Ghanaian teenagers in an almost ecstatic trance, and it seemed as if they could dance endlessly, practising moves they had probably seen in some video clips of local music stars.
After the lively performances, it was time for a glimpse of more indigenous, traditional culture - the children presented a noble Apatampa dance from their region. Some did a little better, others were just learning, but the sight of more than twenty children dancing rhythmically in colourful African costumes is deeply moving. The dance ended with an accelerated rhythm and again with dance performances, which had the audience so enthusiastic that, in African custom, the adults present began to throw banknotes at the dancers to express their appreciation for their efforts and gratitude for providing an unforgettable experience. Now the atmosphere was just right for the next programme item, the fashion show! The three- and four-year-olds, toddlers and babies showing off their African outfits and walking down the improvised catwalk with amazing grace (the girls) or wonderful nonchalance (the boys) brought a big smile to almost everyone's face. The whole event ended with a short speech by the headmistress and the handing out of certificates, but I still had the energetic performances of Ghana's youngest preschoolers in front of my eyes for a long time!

A big round of applause to Monica Quarcoo for organising such an amazing space on Ghanaian soil! A big word of appreciation and gratitude to the Teachers and Staff, for preparing the children for the academy, but most of all for their daily effort in teaching. You are doing a great job!