PAGEANT - "Education is the future"
Bakalarr Nursery Class
Bakalarr Basic Cycle School, in the North Bank Region, is reached from Banjul by using the ferry across the Gambia River to Barra, followed by a road journey of about 15km.  The school serves five local villages, and has Grades from 1 to 9, as well as a nursery class. Pageant began visiting the school in 2001, and has helped in many ways over the years, but much of the credit for the huge improvements achieved is down to the enthusiasm and commitment of its headmaster Mr Bakary Gitteh.
In 2005, to our great surprise and delight we found that the headmaster of Bakalarr School had decided to start a nursery class in one of the smaller classrooms in a refurbished building at one end of the school. There is no State provision for Nursery Education in The Gambia, so this enterprise will receive no financial assistance from Government sources. The classroom was very dark, the repairs, while sound, had not been painted and the furniture was sparse and rather dilapidated - but the children were delighted to entertain us with a song and are obviously happy to be in school. We left some money for paint for the walls and hope to be able to help with furniture and some equipment and toys for the children in the not-too-distant future.
Awards are given monthly throughout the school now to reward achievement, using some of the items we take like calculators, geometry sets, coloured pencils as prizes.
The Headmaster explained that he could not give academic tests to the Nursery Class, but he had given a prize to this little girl last month, as she came every day and was always on time.
Refurbishments and New Toys
One of Pageant's regular visits was just a few days after the children received the toys donated by the Bramley Nursery School in Surrey. As well as classroom refurbishment, there is now an area of concrete outside the nursery classroom so the children can ride their new tricycles. The sand was too soft for them to be able to pedal the bikes easily.
There is also a video clip of the children playing, which can be accessed through thepage.