Investing in Early Childhood Education in Lesotho
With funding from the Better Way Foundation and ELMA Foundation, children are singing, dancing, and playing their way to learning, thanks to 478 teachers and home-based educators in Lesotho who are now more knowledgeable about the stages of early childhood development, classroom management, and play-based curricula. CRS-produced teacher training materials have translated into a robust early childhood teacher education program that reaches more than 5,100 children in 48 recently opened preschools in the country’s most remote communities.
The Whose Child Is This? teacher resource guide, and companion training manual are based on the current Ministry of Education training curriculum and written Sesotho, the local language. These resources introduce best practices in early childhood education and guide teachers on key areas of development: physical, mental, social, spiritual, and emotional.
Participants learn to stock their classrooms with games made from locally available materials, learning tools, and toys that are easily replicated at home. A companion guide for positive parenting used with caregivers makes this a truly comprehensive approach that sparks a love for lifelong learning and gives young children in vulnerable households the building blocks for lasting success.
Access to early childhood education serves as the foundation for lifelong learning. Not only does it give vulnerable children a leg up in capturing the fundamentals, it provides caregivers critical time to build small businesses and work the land—vital contributions to a family’s nutritional and economic health. Studies have shown that early childhood programs have an estimated 15% to 17% return in investments, making them much more cost-effective than programs later in life that aim to address cumulative deficits. Children who benefit from quality early childhood development ECD programs are better prepared to learn, less likely to repeat grades or drop out of school, and more likely to earn a higher income later in life.