Early childhood development project in Cameroon
In Cameroon’s East region, Plan's early childhood care and development programs (ECCD) 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’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.
Children making great progress
5 year-old Karine from Ngolambele is now able to express herself fluently in French, and writes her name very well. Morel, 4, from Djamble, sometimes plays the role of animator during classes by leading and helping his classmates.
This progress is thanks to stimulation from educational play and games at 16 preschool centers, built by Plan in partnership with communities in Cameroon. One parent said: “Children are now more fulfilled, and after preschool are motivated to go to primary school.”
Children are safe in well equipped centers
All 16 of the centers have playing spaces, teaching materials, toys, and cooking areas. Each center also has separate latrines for boys and girls, and simple hand washing equipment.
Whilst they are out farming, parents know their children are safe at the centers, 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.
The organization of the centers is taken care of by management committees, who work to offer all children the same chance of comprehensive development, and so guarantee them a good start to their future education and social development.
Parents give their support
A teacher from Kouambang said: “Most families had little awareness of the importance of early stimulation. But since the construction of this center and children’s [increase in] performance, some parents who were skeptical have changed their minds and begun supporting the preschool. Payment of school fees has vastly improved. Parents also give support to keep the centers clean, healthy and child-friendly.”
Communities in Cameroon have organized Parent and Teacher’s Associations, and are participating in awareness raising on the importance of education in general and preschool education in particular.