The early years of a child’s life are critical to their future development.

From developing their personalities and connections with friends and family to brain formation and motor skills, the early years of a child’s life are the foundation upon which the rest of their lives will be built. This is why our work focuses on making these foundations as strong as possible. Ensuring that children are equipped with the necessary social, physical and cognitive skills to meaningfully engage with school and learning is at the core of our School Readiness model.

We specifically focus on Target 4.2 of Sustainable Development Goal 4.

‘By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.”

So, what does the research say?

It is hard to imagine our own children not having such a solid foundation in life. However, children in countries like Tanzania and Ethiopia are often deprived of essential services and support to nurture them fully through their early years. No amount of intervention in later life can make up for this lack of early childhood development.

The early years are, therefore, crucial to ensure children can go on to achieve fully at school and become active change-makers in their own right with the capacity to engage fully in the development of their own country. If children arrive at school physically and emotionally undernourished, stunted and with a minimum grasp of language, they are likely to remain stuck in a cycle of basic survival rather than having the capacity to thrive, grow and transform their own society,

  • Early Education quality in Tanzania is poor with teacher/pupil ratios averaging nationally at 1:183 in government schools;
  • With approximately 18 million children in Tanzania <8 years old, the quality of coverage of health and early education services for young children remains low, ultimately impacting their ability to reach developmental milestones;
  • Less than 30% of children in Ethiopia are accessing quality early education.

Integrated School Readiness Programme (ISRP)

Children who are ‘ready for school’ have better learning outcomes. The main influencers in achieving this are parents and educators, so we work with these groups to improve their practice in getting children ready for school.

Children aged 0-3 need good health, nutrition and quality parenting at home. We support parents in these essential areas, especially in relation to early language and talking to their babies. Early learning starts at 3 and is play-based, developing the child’s fine motor skills and social-emotional learning. We train educators, school leaders and parents to improve their practice and create a stimulating learning environment for all children.

This journey into formal education is taken alongside local government officials and in line with national policies to create examples of good practice that can be expanded and adopted for all children.

Advocacy Strategy – Tanzania

We believe in creating long-term change that is sustainable. To do this we believe we need to change both policy and practice. We have an advocacy strategy which has seen us establish a task force for Early Childhood Development with over 70 key stakeholders from government and civil society in Tanzania. We have also partnered with the Union of Tanzanian Press Clubs (UTPC) which has seen over 300 articles about ECD published across multiple media channels in the last year.

Removing Barriers to Quality Early Years’ Experiences

While our School Readiness programme is the basis of our work in Tanzania and Ethiopia, we also recognise that significant barriers exist such as poor nutrition due to lack of access to clean, safe drinking water and quality healthcare services, preventing the most vulnerable children from being able to access quality education and reaching their full potential. Unless these barriers are addressed – and ultimately removed – the inequality suffered by the poorest and most vulnerable will persist. We work with communities in Tanzania and Ethiopia to understand these barriers and develop interventions to tackle them, with the goal of ensuring no child is left behind in benefiting from quality early years’ education.

Key Issues
  • Early Education quality in Tanzania is poor with teacher/pupil ratios averaging nationally at 1:183 in government schools;
  • With approximately 18 million children in Tanzania <8 years old, the quality of coverage of health and early education services for young children remains low, ultimately impacting their ability to reach developmental milestones;
  • Less than 30% of children in Ethiopia are accessing quality early education.
What We Are Doing to Address This

Integrated School Readiness Programme (ISRP)

Children who are ‘ready for school’ have better learning outcomes. The main influencers in achieving this are parents and educators, so we work with these groups to improve their practice in getting children ready for school.

Children aged 0-3 need good health, nutrition and quality parenting at home. We support parents in these essential areas, especially in relation to early language and talking to their babies. Early learning starts at 3 and is play-based, developing the child’s fine motor skills and social-emotional learning. We train educators, school leaders and parents to improve their practice and create a stimulating learning environment for all children.

This journey into formal education is taken alongside local government officials and in line with national policies to create examples of good practice that can be expanded and adopted for all children.

Advocacy Strategy – Tanzania

We believe in creating long-term change that is sustainable. To do this we believe we need to change both policy and practice. We have an advocacy strategy which has seen us establish a task force for Early Childhood Development with over 70 key stakeholders from government and civil society in Tanzania. We have also partnered with the Union of Tanzanian Press Clubs (UTPC) which has seen over 300 articles about ECD published across multiple media channels in the last year.

Removing Barriers to Quality Early Years’ Experiences

While our School Readiness programme is the basis of our work in Tanzania and Ethiopia, we also recognise that significant barriers exist such as poor nutrition due to lack of access to clean, safe drinking water and quality healthcare services, preventing the most vulnerable children from being able to access quality education and reaching their full potential. Unless these barriers are addressed – and ultimately removed – the inequality suffered by the poorest and most vulnerable will persist. We work with communities in Tanzania and Ethiopia to understand these barriers and develop interventions to tackle them, with the goal of ensuring no child is left behind in benefiting from quality early years’ education.

Monica’s Story

Monica Kibena is a pre-school teacher in Madizini Primary school, Tanzania where our early years’ education programme is in action! Monica has been trained by Children in Crossfire who recently met with Minister Hon. Selemani Jaffo of the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, who presented her with a certificate acknowledging her outstanding work.

Our Head of Fundraising met Monica in 2018:

‘We take our seats at the back of the classroom and watch on as she engages her pupils. Monica doesn’t just educate them; she also captivates and motivates them. Her energy is infectious and these little children are in thrall to her, as are those of us observing. As adults, we all remember the teachers who inspired us when we were small and these children will remember Monica.

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