COMMUNITY BASED PRE-SCHOOL PROGRAMME
Community Based Preschool Program focuses on offering quality education to children aged between 3-6 years old mostly from the Maasai community in the Northern part of Tanzania. The project operates in four districts namely; Monduli, Longido, Simanjiro and Meru in Arusha District. The program usually deals with the Maasai community that populates a great percentage in the Catholic Archdiocese. Level of education in this community still very low. Most of the indigenous are pastoralists who mainly depend on livestock. Majority of them are illiterate because they value more livestock than formal education. Majority of children who are supposed to be in schools are obliged to look after calves, goats and sheep.
There are still very few Pre-schools and Primary schools in the pastoralist communities. However the present few ones cannot accommodate all children who are supposed to be in schools. This is a challenge to the government to inform, educate and create accommodative atmosphere as to attract the indigenous to understand the importance of formal education, making parents participate in building schools, without forgetting giving teachers incentive in order to make them love these remote areas.
With the support of Caritas Germany, the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha has managed and still continues to implement the Community Based Preschool Program as to help children of this environment to acquire basic quality Pre-primary Education for their future.
Currently, the projects serve 98 preschool centers, 152 educators and more than 16,742 children.
Main objective is to contribute quality education of children aged between 3-6 years old in rural areas of Northern Tanzania especially in the Maasai communities.
The quality education is therefore attained through LOA (Life-Oriented Approach). This is a learning method for the children at the age of 3-6 years old in Early Childhood Education Centers. It is based on the living condition and culture of children.
Life Oriented Approach (LOA) is a holistic approach that supports the cognitive, social, physical and emotional growth of a child. It supports involvement of parents and communities to enhance their responsibility in educating children.
Life Oriented Approach (LOA) philosophy is ‘‘Learning for Life“ meaning that; Learning is related to and based on real life situations of children.
Children do not only learn for life, but also learn in real life.
The approach goes in line with the government of Tanzania, curriculum and syllabus.
- Children at the age of 3-6 years old, including those with special needs, who have basic knowledge and skills related to their daily life and are prepared for primary schools,
- Educators from all preschools are well equipped with knowledge and skills of Life Oriented Approach and apply it in preschools and use the experiences in their daily life,
- Parents and community members in all preschool project areas are aware of the developmental needs of their children and take responsibilities of their preschools,
- Life Oriented Approach, its methodology is introduced to the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, which is applied in line with the government syllabus and disseminated in National Teachers Colleges,
- Preschools with permanent buildings in the Archdiocese of Arusha are registered,
- Networks with relevant stakeholders are established to make plans for the sustainability of the preschools.
Therefore, the program is intended to:
- Creating conducive learning environment to children of 3-6 years old,
- Equip educators with basic skills and knowledge in pedagogical work that is based on real-life-situation,
- Develop child centered pedagogy,
- Built and rehabilitate kindergartens,
- Improve health status of the children in preschools through training of children and parents on good food.
- Create awareness of the parents and village-community on early childhood education,
- Assist on the self-administrative structure of the village -make them functioning,
- Strengthen financial situation of the kindergarten through community mobilization and involvement.
- 152 Educators have been well trained on early childhood pedagogical themes through Life Oriented Approach.
- 16,742 (Female 8432 and Boys 8310) Children have been well prepared for primary schools, they are active and interact well with other children, they can express themselves in Kiswahili and their performance is very good in primary schools.
- Improvement of learning and teaching environment through construction of 25 preschool centers (Classrooms, kitchen and Toilet) and renovation of various preschools
- Educators are able to prepare lesson plan, make teaching and learning materials and can teach according to Life Oriented Pedagogical Concept in line with the government curriculum and syllabus
- With the use of key situation, hygiene and health of children have improved a lot.
- Collaboration with parents/community is good; enrollment of children is high in preschools as parents enroll their children of 2 to 6 years old and their perception towards preschool education is positive.
- Team work within the project staff is good, activities are implemented as planned. There are staff who are LOA Expert,
- Collaboration with the donor is very good, this enhances the achievement of the project objectives,
- Local contribution from the parents’ viewpoints is encouraging; they contribute allowances for educators, porridge for children, renovation and construction of preschool buildings,
- LOA methodology has been accepted at various government levels,
- Integration of important LOA components into the new government curriculum and syllabus for pre primary schools has been done,
- Process is under way regarding all LOA preschools, constructed by the program inspected by District government Inspectors and qualified for registration,
- There is good collaboration with government leaders at various levels which facilitate smooth implementation of project activities,
- There is collaboration with nearby government primary schools which provide with some stationery, track the performance of LOA preschool children and exchange of programme,
- The presence of LOA preschools in the Maasai community has offered good opportunity for most of the Maasai children to receive preschool education at early ages,
- Preparation of Memorandum of Understanding. This document defines roles of various players in running and managing preschool centers for the sustainability of the centers.
- Establishment of good collaboration and networking with NGO’s such as LOOCIP, Future Maasai Worriers, Kilimanjaro Wildlife Area Management. These NGOs support the payment of educators, Food/porridge for children and some didactical material.
Intensive use of mother tongue in the Maasai community influences slow learning of Kiswahili Language in preschools.
- Low level of education and intellectual capacity of the indigenous
- Poverty and ignorance
- Traditional and culture.
- Distances to and fro school
- Drought and lack of water in rural Maasai areas