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Starting education on the right foot in Cameroon

Plan's ECCD initiatives include stimulating children's learning through play, pre-school feeding programs and parental education

Plan International's ECCD initiatives include stimulating children's learning through play, pre-school feeding programs and parental education.

September 6, 2011 – In Cameroon’s east region, Plan International's early childhood care and development (ECCD) programs are building children’s capacity to learn and stimulating the desire to go to school in as many young children as possible.

Early childhood is a significant stage in human development; what happens to us during this period has a huge influence on us mentally and physically. Plan International’s ECCD programs are aimed at children aged 3 to 5 in an effort to encourage not only their academic potential but their overall development.

Making great progress

Five-year-old Karine is now able to express herself fluently in French and writes her name very well. Morel, age four, sometimes assists his teacher during classes by leading and helping his classmates.

This progress is thanks to stimulation from educational play and games at 16 preschool centres built by Plan International in partnership with communities in Cameroon. “Children are now more fulfilled and, after preschool, are motivated to go to primary school,” said one parent.

Safety first

All 16 of the centres have play spaces, teaching materials, toys and cooking areas. Each centre also has separate latrines for boys and girls and simple hand-washing equipment.

While they are out farming, parents know their children are safe at the centres, which also give older children the opportunity to attend school – previously many children, especially girls, had to stay at home to take care of smaller children while parents worked.

Each centre is managed by a committee that works to offer all children the same chance of comprehensive development and get them on the right path for their future education and social development.

Parents give their support

The centres are also helping to inform parents about the importance of early education. As one teacher explained, “most families had little awareness of the importance of early stimulation but since the construction of this centre and children’s [increase in] performance, some parents who were skeptical have changed their minds and begun supporting the preschool…parents also give support to keep the centres clean, healthy and child-friendly.”

Learn more about Plan International’s work in Cameroon.