Early childhood is extremely important to the Karen community. KWO works to give our children early enjoyment of learning and going to school. These projects encourages and prepares them to continue school to into the primary level. Children go to nursery school also develop positive behaviors, social skills and receive a nutritious lunch in a safe environment.
KWO believes it is essential for the long-term well-being of children and their families to support sustainable community ownership and strengthen civil society in Burma as the situation in Karen State becomes slowly more peaceful.
Children in the “under-5” age group are one of the most vulnerable groups in any community. They are more at risk of serious health problems than any other group in the community. They have particular needs for their physical, emotional and social well-being that parents living in poverty in refugee camps struggle to provide. This project seeks to respond to some of those needs in collaboration with parents.
In 2018, KWO supported 92 nursery schools. Among those, 51 were run by KWO and 41 were run by the Early Childhood Central Development (ECCD). For ECCD, KWO only supported the salaries. There was a total of 3,996 children who benefited from the project (2234 from KWO and 1762 from ECD). The schools are in the throughout the seven districts, as well as in Ei Htu Hta IDP Camp on the Salween River in Karen State. Due to funding reductions, KWO was only able to support 77 nursery schools in 2019. There were 54 supported by KWO and 23 by ECCD for a total of support to 3236 students.
KWO started supporting the Nursery schools in Karen State in a more formalized manner in 2007. This project is a creative partnership that builds community capacity while supporting children and their parents. Each year KWO has received increased requests from villages or KWO branches to support Nursery Schools in their community. We believe this is a good indication that the model is successful. In 2010, the project supported 38 Nursery Schools and 1,437 children. By 2018, the number of schools supported in this project has almost tripled and the number of children has tripled, there are now more than 90 community-owned Nursery Schools. In recent years the project has been funded by the DAK Foundation (Australia), OSF, and private donations.
All children in the Karen State enter Grade 1 of primary school at 5 years of age. When they enter the first year of Primary School they face challenging academic, social and emotional upheavals. The Nursery Schools were created to help provide care and education to young children, help them transition more successfully into Primary School, and to provide safe childcare support for mothers who wish to be active in the community.
We implement this project in two of the seven Karen-majority refugee camps. The project comprises 18 KWO nursery schools: 10 nursery schools in Mae Ra Ma Luang camp and 8 nursery schools in Mae La Oon camp. The nursery schools will provide basic education and safe day-care services to an estimated 1,792 children aged 2.8 to 5 years in 2019-20.
We provide daily nutrition and hygiene programs, depending on funds available, to improve the health of the vulnerable“under-5” age group of children. We provide teacher training throughout the year for 143 teaching staff. The recently standardized KWO early childhood curriculum is implemented and monitored in each classroom and teachers create teaching and learning aids to support it. The parents of children in each school receive education in good childcare practices on a monthly basis through the project’s Capacity Building Program. We aspire to increase our actions with parents and community members to further develop their involvement in the management of the Nursery Schools, community fund-raising, and support for activities with the children, especially as funding for refugee camp services decreases each year. A total of 254 project staff (teachers, trainers, school directors, cooks, maintenance staff, etc) are employed through this project and receive training to build their professional capacity.
This project’s managers co-operate closely with KWO’s second Early Childhood Education Project, and co-ordinates their efforts with local ethnic education stakeholders and International Non-Government Organizations (INGOs) working in Early Childhood Education and Child Protection along the border and inside Karen State. The Border Consortium (TBC), one of our key long- term donors, has informed us they will no longer be able to fund the children’s lunch program from 2019 due to funding shortfalls. This reduction will place the well-being of the children and the quality of their care in jeopardy due to the importance of nutrition provision.
Nursery School Curriculum:
We would like to make our Nursery School Curriculum available for other schools to download and use – this is written in Karen. We are very proud of our hard work in creating this curriculum and have seen the positive impacts this has on our children, and their development.
Please click below for the different curriculum levels:
KWO is an ethnic women’s community-based organization that empowers women so they have capacity and power to solve their own problems and participate in decision-making that will affect their lives.
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