06 Mar

HCC Travels To South Africa

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HCC Forms Partnership with Communities in South Africa

Laurie Noe taught the first course delivered in South Africa.

About four years ago, the Bridgeport early childhood education community formed a partnership with several communities in rural South Africa. The goal was to improve the quality of early childhood education practices in both South Africa and Bridgeport. Housatonic Community College, home of a nationally acclaimed early childhood laboratory school that President Clinton described as “what every child in America needs,” has been playing a pivotal role in the partnership.

Laurie Noe taught the first course that was delivered in South Africa. Currently, Eileen O’Donnell is teaching Natural Science and Safety there. Brianna Lopez is the second student from HCC to visit South Africa and is currently taking a winter course while there (although it is very much summer there). Many of the students in South Africa have also been taking online courses with HCC and this past May, four of the students received ECE CDA certificates from the college. One of the students, Bertha Mohube came here for graduation and also spent 2 weeks doing field work at our Lab School.

While we have been experiencing single digit temps here, they have been in the mid 90s and Eileen has already been swimming. They will be going on safari on the weekend and all week they will be experiencing South African foods such as mielie pap (a kind of porridge), rusks (a wonderful hard cake for dipping in coffee), melktert (a milk tart that is creamy and delicious), biltong (a sort of beef jerky made from local bucks, and all sorts of other delicacies. They are working with preschool teachers of the Royal Bafokeng Nation whose first language is Setswana.

The Early Childhood Department has several books about the people of the region and the HCC Library has an English/Setswana dictionary that was given to us last year by one of the visiting administrators from the Royal Bafokeng Institute.

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