CCFC is helping preschoolers reach their full potential
By Semereta Sewasew, communications manager, Ethiopia
I didn’t know about the importance of early education for children,” admits Safawo, a farmer and father-of-three living in Ethiopia. “I was reluctant to send my son Derba to school.”
Safawo wasn’t the only parent in his community to feel that way. And, without many preschools or early childhood centres in the area, most children used to look after livestock, fetch water and care for younger siblings, rather than go to school to spark their development.
So, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) began offering information sessions for parents about the importance of early-childhood education, the role of parents in stimulating their child’s early brain development, child protection and more. We also created stimulating physical and social environments for children during the critical first five years of their growth and development.
In fact, during the past 30 years, CCFC has built more than 40 early-childhood development (ECD) centres in Ethiopia and equipped them with learning materials. We also provided classrooms, dining rooms, latrines and specialized teaching programs to encourage learning through play in children aged six and younger.
Teachers are seeing the difference it makes. “Children who have attended [ECD] centres perform much better in primary education than others who did not attend,” says Ababo Hirpo, a second-grade teacher. “[They] know numbers, letters…. This makes it easier for me to teach. These children also get much higher scores during assessments.”
“I am proud to see my daughter read and enjoy going to school.” — mother of child benefiting from early-childhood program
Bedhatu (pictured), one of Ababo’s eight-year-old students who attended a CCFC ECD centre, received top honours this year. “Bedhatu is an active student in class. She’s very focused, eager and on task during lessons,” says Ababo.
Parents are seeing the positive effects, too. “I am proud to see my daughter read and enjoy going to school. I hope when she grows up she will have a very good government job,” says Dema, Bedhatu’s mother who lives in a community where women are not expected to work outside the home.
Now, parents, especially mothers whose children have joined the program, have more time for income-generating activities. And, elder siblings are attending school, too, rather than taking care of their younger siblings.
Children, like Safawo’s nine-year-old son are benefiting, and it’s making them happy. “I enjoyed my time in the early-childcare centre,” confirms Derba. Better yet, the third-grader has a brighter future.
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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.