The Early Childhood is a major focus of E&D’s mission. This project aims at fostering young children’s development and awakening by giving them access to a quality pre-school education. Like James Heckman, the 2000 economics Nobel Prize winner, we are convinced that the expenditure and public policies in favor of Early Childhood generate undeniable socio-economic benefits with very important returns on investment, which are decisive for the development of a country.
E&D’s action facilitates access to pre-school education in designated areas by establishing (semi-) communitarian run schools as well as training and consulting actors in the childhood sector. The teachers, who come from the communities, receive a pre-school education training including pedagogical methods in child development. Schools are being built or renovated in deprived neighborhoods. The equipments and facilities are also furnished in order to provide good teaching, mental stimulation and hygiene. In addition, innovative pedagogical tools such as workbooks, games and videos are created and adapted for the teachers’ use.
Local authorities are involved due to the fact that they handle administrative tasks; such as covering the teachers’ wages and assigning some of their own teachers. Communities are informed about early childhood stimulation, the benefits of pre-school and everything directly or indirectly related to young children’s fullfillment (nutrition, health, parent-child relationship).
In Cambodia, along with our local partner Krousar Youeng (Kr Y), E&D has participated in the development of an academic program for the Department of Education, and also created over a hundred community-run pre-schools in the rural sector, where the aspirational autonomous-model (self-governance in 3 years) has been successful. Based on its experience, it has undertaken the task of strengthening the plan in Cambodia through the creation of a resource center dedicated to the cooperation and the exchange of good practices between professionals in the sector. The Early Childhood program has recently been extended into Burkina Faso for the benefit of the most vulnerable families living within informal settlements in Ouagadougou.