Early Childhood Education in Kenya
In Kenya the term Early Childhood Development (ECD) is used to refer to the area of discipline that concerns the care, development and learning of young children aged 0-5 years. ECD comes under a large umbrella consisting of Nursery Schools, Pre-Unit Classes, Kindergartens, Day Nurseries, Playgroups, and Home-Based Care Centers.
The new education structure in Kenya now refers to ECD as Early Years Education (EYE).
The Government of Kenya plays a minimal role in facilitating EYE. Their role is constricted to the registration, supervision of EYE run by parents, community, non-governmental organizations, religious organizations and other private providers. Aids Orphan plays a key role in bridging the gap, by allowing orphans and vulnerable children, living in severe poverty and hardship to have access to a fully funded EYE. A very rare opportunity and lifeline which is vital for any child’s early cognitive and social development.
There are currently very few public EYE centers funded by the government and therefore, the question raised by various civic agencies; why then, is such an integral part of a child’s education, missing from this sector?
The new Constitution of Kenya in 2010 placed the responsibility for early childhood development and education on the County Governments. Yet, there are no sufficient resources to provide these vital services.
In Kenya kindergarten education is being provided only through private sector which in turn is vastly expensive. Therefore, leaving poor families unable to provide their children with the pre-school level education. Government schools start from Year 1 (Primary), resulting in a majority of children struggling to follow the minimal curriculum requirements set in Year 1, having missed out the integral EYE. This then leads to complete demotivation, disengagement and increased drop-out rates early on at primary level education.
This is the reason behind Aids Orphan with CIVS Kenya establishing the Early Childhood Development Centre in 2018 (ECDC).
The facility at Ahero Resource Centre provides pre-primary level education to more than 100 HIV/AIDS Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) aged between 2-5 years from the Ahero Ward. The establishment of ECDC is greatly contributing to the children’s overall well-being and their physical, cognitive and emotional development. From, providing this basic early level education and two (2) nutritious meals a day, these children are acquiring a great start in life that they otherwise would not have access to.
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