The Strengthening Early Childhood Care & Education project – A pilot study to improve kindergartens and engage communities in ECCE.

Helping a child to read is an important of early childhood education

Last Friday children around Vanuatu celebrated national Kindy Day.

Over the last few years, Vanuatu is seeing an increase in children attending kindergarten. For children, early childhood education, is one of the most important learning opportunities in their life as their young brains are developing the fastest.

Last year, the Government of Vanuatu through its Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) contracted World Vision Vanuatu to implement the Strengthening Early Childhood Care and Education (SECCE) pilot program in the Torba, Malampa and Shefa provinces. This pilot program is a 3-year program which will continue until the end of 2016.

The project aims to support and train teachers in the kindergartens, and engage parents and carers to understand the importance of early childhood education in the community.

World Vision Operations and Programme Quality Manager says children having access to quality kindergartens is essential for a healthy and educated Vanuatu.

“We know that if children don’t attend kindergarten, they are less likely to attend school or, if they do attend school, it is at a later age and they are less likely to finish primary school.”

“The project with the support of the MoET and the Australian and New Zealand Governments is working to address this and ensure children in some of the most remote parts of Vanuatu have access to quality kindergarten education,” she said.

Increased enrollment with improved programs that can engage children to develop appropriate skills will improve literacy rate and increase primary school attendance at the right age. Children with strong ECCE education have more chances to remain longer in school and will improve community health and livelihoods in the long-term.

The SECCE program is also piloting a program (the REDI PIKININI program) to be used in communities that do not have access to kindergartens, where parent-teachers run twice weekly programs engaging children of kindergarten age (3-5)with local games and exercises in order to ready them for school.

To date, some of the projects significant achievements include increasing awareness of the importance of children attending kindergarten leading to increased enrollments, training teachers to deliver lesson plans and set up engaging classrooms, improving kindergarten playgrounds, and holding community awareness programs on the influence of nutrition and brain development for children’s ability to learn.

With the reminder of the National Kindy Day fresh in our minds, let’s acknowledge how important early childhood education is and support our local kindergarten!

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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