Sabre Education & Right to Play Ghana​

A charity building early years schools in Ghana, set up in 2003 by Founder & Trustee Aubrey Malcolm-Green and headquartered in Accra, Ghana, Sabre Education’s Theories of Change (ToC) is a methodology on the importance of play in creating lasting, strong, early learning outcomes for children. The ToC centres around three areas: delivery of play-based teacher training, creating play-based school environments that support child-centred learning, and influencing early years education policy and practice. Together, these key areas can produce strong learning outcomes for children.

Their partner in key Ghana initiatives, Right to Play Ghana, which is a registered charity headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and active in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. They have their own ToC, grounded in a holistic child development framework. This includes physical well-being, cognitive functions, social and emotional learning and language, literacy and numeracy. RTP’s approach uses play-based learning to reinforce these four domains.

The implementation models of the two partners centre around delivering play-based early years teacher training, through in-person and virtual workshops, in-classroom coaching and supervision. They also engage the wider school eco-system, including head teachers, parents and local government to ensure system-wide change. As a result, teachers are provided with the knowledge, skills and support to transform their classrooms into child-centred, play-based learning environments.

On average, after receiving Sabre’s training, teachers score over 80% in their competency of delivering play-based teaching. In 2019, an assessment of 3,222 children after Sabre’s teacher training showed 72% had a sufficient or strong mastery of pre-reading, pre-writing, mathematical, psychosocial and communication skills.  At the end of an early childhood education (ECE) project conducted by RTP in Uganda in 2020/21 to improve access and quality of ECE interventions for refugees, all 60 teachers trained were competent in implementing play-based learning and all 2,371 children successfully transitioned to primary school.

Sabre and RTP are now bringing together their collective expertise to support the Ghanaian Government to scale quality play-based teacher training to every kindergarten teacher in Ghana. Together, they have united the sector to develop an optimal, scalable, play-based teacher training model, have secured Government buy-in, and are now rolling it out across Ghana.

Building on years of play-based teacher training experience, Sabre and RTP’s partnership has shifted the sector to develop an optimal play-based kindergarten teacher training model to be scaled nationally by the Ghanaian Government, with the Ghana Education Service (GES) adopting it as ‘the’ Government kindergarten teacher training model. 90 master trainers have been trained in its delivery, ready to be deployed across the country.

An impact evaluation on Sabre’s teacher training model showed the training improved children’s school readiness, including their early literacy and numeracy skills. In 2018, Sabre was awarded the UNESCO Hamdan Prize for “Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers”. In 2013, the founder of RTP Johann Olav Koss was awarded the LEGO Prize by LEGO Foundation in recognition of the tremendous impact he and RTP have had on children’s lives.