Vanadzor, 25 May 2017 – United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country office in Armenia, Tumanyan consolidated community of Lori region, “Step by Step” Benevolent Foundation and Communities Finance Officers Association (CFOA) signed a memorandum of understanding today, which lays the groundwork for the establishment of early childhood education services for all children aged 3-6 in Atan, Shamut, Marts and Ahnidzor settlements of Tumanyan.
The Governor of Lori region mentioned that preschool education is a key priority for the region, primarily for hard-to-reach communities, where the number of children is not sufficient for opening traditional kindergartens, especially taking into account the associated costs.
The concept of alternative preschool services is based on international research, which suggests that the duration of attendance (period in preschool in years) is key to successful outcomes in a child’s life, rather than the intensity of attendance (hours in the day).
“Early years of life are formative and play a vital role in building human capital, breaking the cycle of poverty, promoting economic productivity, and eliminating social disparities,” said Tanja Radocaj, UNICEF Representative in Armenia. “Investment in early childhood is one of the most cost- effective ways of increasing the ability of all children to reach their full potential – increasing their ability to learn in school and, later, their earning capacity as adults.”
Children aged 3-6 in Tumanyan, including Atan, Shamut, Marts and Ahnidzor, 80 at the moment, will benefit from modern classrooms for a group of 10-15 children each, where they will stay for 3-4 hours per day and learn through interactive learning methods and games. Fifteen community members, mothers and caregivers from the target settlements will be trained to work with young children. The state preschool in Tumanyan, where a second classroom will be established, will serve as a methodological hub for the newly established preschool centers.
Through this partnership, Tumanyan community will take over the maintenance, asset management, and salaries of preschool teachers for a five-year period. The community will also provide the workforce for the renovation, and mobilize parents and other community members to support the services.
UNICEF in partnership with “Step by Step” Benevolent Foundation will provide training and mentoring assistance to future preschool teachers and support the community with the establishment of the services, including renovation, furniture, learning materials and toys.
UNICEF and CFOA will guide the Tumanyan community in all aspects related to legal and financial sustainability of the services, as well as provide recommendations to the Government of Armenia on how similar services can be established in other consolidated communities. UNICEF will also monitor compliance with safety standards, quality of services and training.
Partners will work to open the doors of the preschool services for children in the fall of 2017.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.