Early Education Pilot Program

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Nicolás Fund for Education is excited about the early childhood education pilot project that will be launching in July 2019 in the village of San Nicolás! This program is being funded through a special grant.

We feel investing in early childhood education is critical to building strong foundations that will benefit children throughout their academic experience. Students learn important social skills such as listening, sharing and cooperating, and become accustomed to a structured environment.

Early childhood education has been shown to increase a student’s attention span, expand their vocabulary and learn preliminary math skills. Scientific studies consistently show the benefit of early childhood education in terms of enhanced language development, increased reading and math academic scores and cognitive and emotional benefits. These students will have an opportunity to learn some Spanish language.

The pilot program will take place in the San Nicolás Early Childhood Development Center, located near the San Nicolás primary school. Nicolás Fund for Education is partnering with a Guatemalan organization called Crecer. Crecer is providing equipment and training for our programs.

Beatriz Ruano de Dominguez from Crecer held a two-day training session in May for  Nicolás Fund for Education graduates interested in education, and those students will have an opportunity to work in the Early Childhood Development Center as Teaching Assistants.

Bellevue Presbyterian Church Early Childhood Development Director Lisa Phelps organized a book drive for the preschool and parents contributed books that our July 2019 team will be delivered to the school.

This pilot program will benefit 14 village families and 26 children between the ages of 0 and 6 years old. Three separate programs will be offered. Parents and children 0-2 years old will gather to learn about infant stimulation techniques for two hours twice per week. Toddlers (2 to 4 years old) will have a separate two-hour block twice per week. A preschool and kindergarten for 4 to 6-year-old children will take place three days a week for a four-hour period. This initial schedule is intended to provide a chance for the students to become accustomed to going to school.

In 2020, the schedule will expand so that there are four hours of preschool/kindergarten five days per week, and the period for toddlers will increase to three times per week. Crecer has created a wonderful curriculum that meets the Guatemalan Ministry of Education standards but also incorporates spiritual, psychological and emotional components. Thank you to Lisa Phelps and the entire NFE Preschool Committee for their hard work on this!

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