|© Petra News Agency|
|Ceremony in Amman marks launch of new report marking Jordan's progress on early childhood development.|
AMMAN, Jordan, 20 March 2009 – UNICEF this week presented the findings of a new report showcasing Jordan's successes in early childhood development (ECD). 'The Jordanian National Plan of Action for Children' was launched on 16 March in the presence of the Minister of Education, as well as teachers, specialists and parents involved in giving children a good start to life.
ECD is increasingly being put on the agenda for children's rights, not only in Jordan but worldwide. Ensuring the healthy cognitive, social and emotional development of young children – along with health and nutrition support, and other interventions – is critical to their long-term well-being.
At the launch ceremony, held under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, a video of Queen Rania's visit to the kindergarten of the Ruseifa Vocational School for Girls highlighted improvements in the quality of kindergarten care – a vitally important component of ECD.
Promoting best practices
The launch of the report was part of a four-day regional workshop attended by participants from across the Middle East and North Africa. Experts at the workshop looked at numerous ECD-related issues, including:
Participants have visited sites in Jordan, such as day-care centres, kindergartens, schools and mosques, where ECD policies are implemented and better-parenting sessions are held.
"I am pleased that the Jordan initiative in the area of early childhood development, under the personal leadership of Her Majesty, is promoted as best practice in the region," said UNICEF Representative in Jordan Anne Skatvedt. "The well deserved credit given to a wide range of partners is a stimulus to all to continue the excellent work and to aim even higher over the coming years."
To document the successful results of this work by a wide range of partners – with the National Council for Family Affairs taking a lead role – the UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa has presented the Jordanian efforts in a learning series designed to document education success in the region.
Despite the many achievements of the first Jordanian action plan on ECD, remaining challenges here include:
In addition, UNICEF believes that better-parenting training should be offered to all parents in Jordan, far beyond the children of 130,000 families who have already benefited.