November 21, 2012 | Education
Save the Children: No Boundaries for Learning
By Tippin Coscolluela-Litke
Where there is a mission to educate,
and a will to learn,
any place is a good place.
Clencia, a young girl from the village of Lipango in Mozambique had her very first pre-school class under the shade of a mango tree.
It was 2008, and Clencia was just five years old when Save the Children reached her remote area and introduced its early childhood development program to hundreds of children from ages 3 to 5.
Under that tree and later in a preschool classroom, Clencia learned how to draw using pencil and paper, an important step to writing. She also learned how to sing and dance. While attending preschool, Clencia quickly made friends, gained confidence and overcame her shyness towards other children and adults.
Today, at age 8, you can see how an early start on learning has made a difference in Clencia’s life. As one of the first graduates of Save the Children’s early education program in Mozambique, she is now a vibrant third-grader, always surrounded by friends.
Her third-grade teacher, Ana Paula, says that “while Clencia excels in all disciplines, her problem-solving skills in math are enviable. She is totally at ease and shows interest by asking questions.”
She adds that Clencia, like others who attended pre-school, is “quick to grasp new concepts and easy to teach.” She notices Clencia’s leadership skills, observing how she, along with others like her, “motivates her peers by leading them in songs and games they learned in preschool.”
Clencia’s mother, Ligia, also notices the positive changes in her daughter. She says, “Save the Children’s early learning program awakened my child’s intelligence”. This remark goes to the heart and soul of a program that can have lasting change on children’s lives - even if it has to happen in the humblest of places, a patch of shade under a mango tree.
More about Save the Children’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program
Most children in the poorest communities around the world do not receive the support they need during early childhood to reach their academic and social potential. In Mozambique, for example, only 4% of children who are at ages considered critical for growth and development (ages0-3) have access to educational services.
Save the Children addresses this gap by introducing its Early Childhood Development program in many poor communities. Designed to teach basic thinking, listening, reading, writing, and social skills, the program aims to increase the percentage of children entering and succeeding in elementary school.
This program promotes learning not only within classrooms, but in homes and community spaces as well. Skilled facilitators team up with community health workers to engage the children, their parents, and other members of the community in activities that promote the importance of well-being and early childhood education. Books, toys, games and other materials to encourage children to learn are all made locally.
In some countries, Save the Children may also partner with elementary schools. This partnership helps support the organization’s effort to ease the transition of children from preschool to the more formal setting of an elementary school.