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NCC educator trains African teachers

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NCC Director of Early Childhood Education Sarah Prezioso, left, recently trained teachers in Agape Village in Zambia.

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BY JENNY WHITE
Staff Writer

Monday, December 3, 2018

Nash Community College Director of Early Childhood Education Sarah Prezioso recently visited Zambia, Africa, to share her expertise with five African teachers who will be working at a new school with ties to Rocky Mount.

The new school is a part of Agape Village Foundation, founded by Mickey and Jackie Bailey of Rocky Mount. Agape Village Foundation is a Christian nonprofit organization that supports the 138-acre village, which consists of an orphanage for 65 children, a working farm and a soon-to-open new school. Children in grades K-7 will attend the new Agape Village School when it opens in January.

Agape Village Foundation recently brought the five new teachers together for a week-long training session with Prezioso. Jackie Bailey said that while the school is definitely a Zambian school, there are some ways it will be different from other village schools.

“The philosophy about education is a little different in Zambia than it is here in America,” Bailey said. “We wanted to make sure we are using the higher American education standards and we wanted to teach the teachers from the very beginnin, the very best way to teach the children and build strong respectful relationships between the teachers and the students.”

The Baileys and Agape Village Foundation believe that by operating their own school in Agape Village they’ll be able to offer a better education to the children — and better prepare them to be self-sustaining adults and leaders in their community.

Prezioso instructed the new teachers on techniques to use with the curriculum the school will be using as well as instruction on how to best utilize the new technology in the new school’s classrooms.

The new school is equipped with computers and classroom SMART board projectors. Most of the teachers in Zambia have limited use of computer technology and only get to use them while university students.

"I didn’t anticipate how much the teachers would teach me about the Zambian culture and the education system there. I was impressed by how much they knew about education and how passionate they were about teaching," Prezioso said. “Zambia is a very special place full of wonderful people."

Getting to know the teachers, watching them interact with each other and with the children was the best part of the trip for Prezioso.

“They all have such a passion and commitment to Agape Village,” she said.

The Agape Village Foundation’s mission is to provide loving care in a Christ-centered environment for orphaned children in Zambia, enabling them to thrive and to eventually become self-supporting adults.

“In early childhood education, we describe teaching as an art and a science. Students learn this concept in the very first course. As an early childhood faculty member at Nash Community College, I demonstrate this concept for students in a practical way,” Prezioso said. “The science of teaching is the easy part, using research-based strategies to ensure student retention and success. The art of teaching is the challenge, creatively using the strategies to create a positive learning environment for students.”

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