Up until a couple of years ago, most children aged between three and five in rural villages in Laos were not attending preschool. This was largely due to the lack of facilities, trained teachers and learning materials, but also because most parents in rural Laos didn’t understand the importance of early childhood education for children.
Education is a key pathway to breaking the cycle of poverty. As one of the least developed countries in the world, Plan, with the support of SAMA, is working in northern Laos to provide children aged 0-8 years with support for their development. This is being done through education for parents on health, early stimulation and learning, access to quality formal and informal preschool services, as well as school readiness for older children.
For those in Laos who have seen Plan’s work in action, the benefits of early childhood care and education are clear. “The number of students repeating Year 1 has declined since Plan has been helping to promote early childhood education and care,” says Mr BounPeng, Houythong Village principal.
Seven-year-old Julie went through a Plan-supported preschool last year, where she enjoyed drawing and story time the most. Through story-reading and storytelling, the early literacy skills of children like Julie are developed as they acquire listening skills, encounter new words and ideas and are asked questions.
Julie was lucky to be able to attend preschool and it has made the transition to primary school much easier. “I love singing and drawing but I would like to be a doctor when I grow up,” she says. Her younger sister will be attending preschool next year and Julie is excited for her to have the same opportunities that she has enjoyed.
Give SAMA a High-5
Intrepid Travel has joined forces with Plan to set up SAMA, a 3-year global gender equality project that aims to improve the lives of communities and help bridge the gender gap through education. It might not sound like much, but $5 can go a long way and we would love it if you could support this worthwhile project by giving SAMA a High-5 today!
Photo: Julie (left) having fun at preschool © Plan