Outline of the GSS Teacher Training & Development Program

The Program costs £7,000 a year and has 5 elements to it:

1. Twice a year all teachers attend a 2-day workshop held at the Bakary Sambouya Nursery School (it is in a central location and has a large dining area with capacity for 100+). The project leader, Kemo Bah, organises the workshops and brings in specialist ECD trainers to help run the sessions. Our workshops have a reputation as being amongst the best in The Gambia.

2. Coach/inspector team. Comprises 3 of our most able teachers who are allocated 3-4 schools each, which they visit monthly. During their visit they inspect the schools, complete our bespoke form and, most importantly, provide ‘follow up’ classroom coaching for the teachers to ensure they put into practice what they have learnt at the workshops.

From left Alex Gomez, Adama Camara, Kemo Bah (project leader) and Pa Jarju

3. Head Teacher workshop. Every term all eleven Head Teachers attend a 1-day workshop to be trained in leadership skills, administration and accounting. Fundamental to the success of the GSS project is having excellent Head Teachers in place.

4. Year 1 teachers. Twice a year the eleven Year 1 teachers (they run the introductory class of 3-4 year olds) are trained in the techniques of ‘learning through play’ and the other special skills needed to teach at this level. GSS recognise the crucial importance of introducing these children to school and setting them up for the more formal Levels 1 (age 4-5), 2 (age 5-6) and 3 (age 6-7) where the MoBSE curriculum (2019) sets out, in detail, the topics to be covered.

5. Trainee development. All the schools have trainees who GSS will pay to qualify as ECD teachers if they demonstrate the right credentials. New candidates are selected every year to attend the 3-year course at Gambia College. Four trainees are in our program at present (May 24) with others being considered to start next year.

Workshop example:

2-day workshop held 19/20 April 2024

The focus of this workshop was the use of learning materials (ideally these are sourced locally e.g. bottle tops and sea shells) to bring to life curriculum topics and fostering interaction between pupil and teacher. There were 66 attendees and two specialist trainers were brought in to support Kemo Bah who led the workshop – Ebrima Bah an ECD lecturer from Gambia College and Karen Wilkin a retired Montessori teacher from the UK with 30 years experience.


Feedback from Ebrima Bah, Lecturer, Gambia College School of Education, Early Childhood Development Unit, Brikama Campus 

How do our workshops compare with others you have attended?

  • I would say that your workshops are more interactive and engaging compared to others I have attended. The facilitators are highly knowledgeable and effectively present the material in line with the GOALS curriculum. They also encourage participation and create a supportive environment for attendees to ask questions and share their thoughts. Additionally, the workshops are well-structured, with a good balance between theoretical concepts and practical exercises for example the engagement on circle time, free play, and building resilience. Overall, your workshops stand out in terms of their effectiveness and the value they provide to attendees.

Were you impressed by what you witnessed?

  • Yes, I was impressed by what I saw during the workshop. The level of professionalism and expertise displayed by the facilitators was commendable. They effectively conveyed complex ideas and made the content easily understandable for participants to digest and replicate in class. The workshop was well-organized and thoughtfully designed to cater to the needs and interests of attendees and I recognized the representation disability and climate change matters. Moreover, the interactive elements and hands-on activities kept everyone engaged and created a collaborative learning environment. Overall, I left the workshop feeling inspired and equipped with practical knowledge that I could immediately apply the skills as a lecturer.


Feedback from Karen Wilkin, Montessori teacher retired after 30 years experience in UK.

‘Herewith my report on the above seminar held at Bakary Sambouya Nursery School on Friday and Saturday 19th and 20th April 2024.

It was my pleasure to be invited to speak at the recent seminar held by GSS on the topic of Learning Through Play, with particular emphasis on the Montessori method of education, which I have been teaching in the UK for over 30 years.

The day was well organised and structured with most of the teachers in attendance.

The session was divided into presentation of new ideas and materials with “child” participation and then the teachers were encouraged to come up and “run” the class and later explore the new materials for themselves.

Even though it was an extremely hot day, they were all engaged, enthusiastic and very eager to learn and – by the end of the session – had quickly grasped the concept of Learning Through Play.

Moving forward, this will now be monitored regularly by myself and the strong team on the ground to ensure the goals are met and the education is moving forward.’

I found this to be a very impressive and well organised set up and both the teachers and pupils will continue to improve with this level of care and commitment.

Karen Wilkin, 21st April 2024’