COMMUNITY BASED PRESCHOOL PROGRAMME

Introduction:
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 is 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. It is a challenge for the government to inform and make the indigenous people understand the importance of formal education and invite them to participate in building schools. Also, there have to be incentives for the teachers in order to make them work in 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 project serves 117 preschool centers, 187 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.

Specific Objectives:

  • 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 pre-schools are well equipped with knowledge and skills of Life Oriented Approach and apply it in pre-schools 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,
  • The LOA Methodology and its relation to the Harmonized Syllabus is understood by ECE stakeholders in our area of operation
  • Networks with relevant stakeholders are established to make plans for the sustainability of the preschools

Achievements (2019):
 

  • 187 Educators have been well trained on early childhood pedagogical themes through Life Oriented Approach (LOA)
     
  • 26,238 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
     
  • Improvement of learning and teaching environment through construction of 27 preschool centers (classrooms, kitchen and toilet) and renovation of various preschools
     
  • Educators are able to prepare lessons, create teaching and learning materials and can teach according to the Life Oriented Pedagogical Concept in line with the government curriculum and syllabus. As a result, 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 3 to 6 years old and their perception towards preschool education is positive
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  • Women have had chance to engage in small income generating activities and other household tasks while their children are in preschools
     
  • Team work within the project staff is good, activities are implemented as planned. There are LOA experts on the staff
     
  • Collaboration with the donors 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 pre-school 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 achieved
     
  • All LOA preschools have been well recognised and registered by the government
  • There is good collaboration with government leaders at various levels, which facilitates smooth implementation of project activities
  • There is collaboration with nearby government primary schools which provide stationery, track the performance of LOA pre-school children and exchange of programme,
     
  • The presence of LOA pre-schools in the Maasai community has offered good opportunities for most of the Maasai children to receive pre-school education at early ages
     
  • Establishment of good collaboration and networking with NGOs that support the payment of educators, food/porridge for children and some didactical material.

Challenges:
–       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
–       Tradition and culture
–       Travel distances to and from school
–       Drought and lack of water in rural Maasai areas