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Early childhood education in China

A survey among primary school teachers in Butuo, China, has shown that the children who have attended Humana People to People’s Preschool of the Future are more active, more eager and able to learn on their own.

The purpose of the Preschool of the Future (POF), a community preschool project, is to prevent poor children from becoming poor adults. Breaking the cycle of poverty takes many concerted efforts. Investment in infrastructure and access to markets and modern commodities and knowledge are important steps. But for children to develop confidence and trust in their own capacity is crucial for changing their expectations for their own life.

For Humana People to People China vision is to make the preschool and the preschool teacher a hub for rural development, therefore it strives to show a way for the future generation towards a modern, rural lifestyle. This is achieved through strengthening the capacities of rural people and having people in the centre of developing their villages. The preschool program will be supplemented with community development activities and training preschool teachers, the children and their parents to be active modern rural citizens.

Butuo in Sichuan Province is in the mountains of South West China, inhabited by 93% Yi indigenous people. Nearly all the rural population in Butuo are low income and about 1/3 live under the national poverty line – with an annual income per capita of less than US$365.

On 18th March 2014 the opening ceremonies of the Humana People to People China preschools in Gage and Huoluojue were held. By the middle of August, a total of 180 children with 30 in each of the six preschools are receiving early childhood education. The early education has basic literacy, numeracy, reading and writing skills as part of the program. By attending preschools the children are better prepared for primary school. Beside the traditional school subjects the children learn about nature, animals, nutrition, hygiene, how to express themselves through arts and music and they learn important social skills through relating to each other at the preschools.

Six parents committees with a total of 18 members were established in the six preschools. The committee members as well as other parents get together at least three times in a semester to discuss about the preschool running, management and to receive trainings on early childhood education, child development, hygiene knowledge, nutrition and health knowledge, and how to encourage their children to be active in the early education program.

To support the healthy development of children, the project provides lunch for the children.