30 August 2022

With a strong affinity for Early Childhood Learning, she puts a strong emphasis on teaching, learning and assessment activities guiding second- and third-year students in Education studies; she assesses fourth years in their teacher service learning and reflection sessions; and supervises postgraduate Master of Education (MEd FP) students.

Dr Muhati-Nyakundi holds a PhD (2017) in Psychology from the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg South Africa. She obtained her MEd (2002) in Educational Psychology and BEd in Education, Languages and Geography from Kenyatta University, Kenya. She has worked as a temporary, sessional and part-time lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, Wits University and University of Nairobi.

Her research interests include: psychosocial support and wellbeing of children in diverse contexts; education, effects of substance use, misuse and abuse by children and youths; digital technologies and children; urban environment among others.

She integrates unique creative participatory methodologies researching with children on various aspects of their lived lives from their perspectives, and resilience nurturing, inviting their active voices into academic research conversations.

Her research interest cover activities with early childhood education/foundation phase learning on experiences of children in learning contexts, in collaboration with teachers who play critical roles in various forms of psycho-socio-educational support.

“My research interests include early childhood development in difficult contexts; safety and protection needs for children; resilience nurturing; school children’s exposure to drug use, misuse and abuse,” she says, adding that her work is often dictated by societal needs and problems.

“This has driven me to further do research on societal issues such as the emergence of 4IR and human development; creative research methodology, and educational pedagogy, the impact of the COVID19 pandemic, access to digital assisted learning among many others,” she explains.

Multi-skilled educator

Dr Muhati-Nyakundi is an experienced curriculum developer. She has participated in review of departmental curriculum for the Psychology Department of the University of Johannesburg (2018-to-2020); participated in developing a unified curriculum for Teacher Programs at the University of Juba, and the National Teacher Training Institutes (NTTI) in South Sudan (2011). She also participated in developing Teacher Programs for school-based teacher trainees for the School of Continuing and Distance Education at the University of Nairobi-Kenya.

Her previous positions include being Senior Research Associate/Sessional Lecturer- Department of Psychology University of Johannesburg (Appointed January 2020 to March 2022) Lecturer (Sessional) – Department of Psychology University of the Witwatersrand (2015-2017) Senior Tutor/teaching assistant – Department of Psychology University of the Witwatersrand (2012-2014).

Dr Muhati-Nyakundi was also a part-time lecturer in Education studies at the School of Education, University of Nairobi-Kenya between 2003 and 2012, a sessional Education Consultant & Lecturer in early childhood education at the University of Juba- South Sudan in 2011.

She was a lecturer in school-based degree programs for continuing education students who included preschool, primary and secondary school teachers at the University of Nairobi – Kenya; and a researcher with numerous NGOs.

Community servant

Dr Muhati-Nyakundi is a strong research professional who has been involved in community service engagement for community development in Kenya, South Sudan and South Africa.

She has a book chapter currently in press titled: English Language curriculum development for children in Kenya: challenges and opportunities- a Vygotskian perspective.

“The chapter provides accounts of developing English as a Language in the Kenyan curriculum within a culture of multiple rich linguistic resistance, challenges faced in view of local lingua and multiple versions of English in digital information literacies’ era,” she explains.

Besides her professional qualifications, she loves art (music, poetry, drama, dance, fashion, sculpture, fine art, architectural designs etc), reading, movies, tours and travels, and praying.

Some of Dr Muhati-Nyakundi’s highlights include serving as an Education consultant in Juba-South Sudan on a project commissioned by Worldbank/Multidonor Trust Fund/UNICEF and the Government of South Sudan.

@Story by Lisa Thabethe. Pictures Supplied.