Exploring a School in Kenya’s Kids

Exploring a School in Kenya's Kids

Kenya’s Kids, open until January 4, 2020 at the Discovery Center, is a collaborative effort designed to recreate some of the lived experiences of children living in Kenya today by emphasizing both the longtime cultural traditions of the country and its modern technological advances. The exhibit is divided into five different environments that replicate some of the common places children see and experience in Kenya. Each space provides activities and hands-on learning that encourage visitors to use their imagination and to ask questions in order to gain a better understanding of life and culture in Kenya today.

What is school like in Kenya?

School days in Kenya are much longer than school days in the United States, but there are often more breaks when kids can play outside. Since most kids start school speaking only their family/tribal language, both English and Swahili classes are required in order for kids to communicate with one another at school, across the country, and globally as well. Primary (basic) education in Kenya is divided up into eight years, or standards, and split into lower primary (standards 1 – 3), middle primary (standards 4 – 5), and upper primary (standards 6 – 8).

Before advancing to the next standard, students are expected to pass an end-of-the-year exam at the end of October. At the end of Standard 8, students are required to take the national Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam (KCPE) before continuing on to secondary education. This exam is extremely important as it determines the student’s future education and the secondary schools they are eligible to attend. Each exam takes place at the same time every year during the last week of October before students go on their summer break in November and December. Visitors to Kenya's Kids can make success cards to wish Kenyan students good luck on their exams. We will mail the cards to schools in Kenya in October.

What can kids do at the school in Kenya's Kids?

  • Dress up in the same school uniforms that children in Kenya are wearing today.
  • Learn how to say the Swahili names for common Kenyan animals using touchscreen tablets at a desk.
  • Learn Swahili numbers by making a Swahili Counting Book.
  • Make your own Kenyan flag using colored paper and glue and learn about what the symbols in the flag represent.
  • Make a success card for a Kenyan student by writing a short note and/or drawing a picture. At the end of the Kenyan school year, we will mail these cards to students in Kenya during their exam period.

What can kids learn at the school in Kenya's Kids?

  • Technology plays an important role in Kenyan education; the government has committed to provide tablets and computers to all students in Kenya.
  • Learning Swahili and English in school is important as most children start school knowing only their family or tribal language.
  • Music and the arts are very important in Kenyan culture, and are taught in schools around the country. Festivals are held each year where schools can perform and compete for a trophy.
  • Working together (harambe) is an important value in Kenya, both at school and in the community.

Kenya’s Kids is part of a cultural exhibit series created by The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum with a goal of introducing children to cultures from around the world. This immersive exhibit is designed for children 3 to 12 years and was created in partnership with the St. Louis Kenyan community. Kenya’s Kids is generously made possible by the Crawford Taylor Foundation and The Dana Brown Charitable Trust, U.S. Bank Trustee. Locally sponsored by the Redbud Foundation, Kenya’s Kids will be on display at The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center from September 13, 2019 to January 4, 2020 and is included in regular admission.