UNICEF establishes two preschool services in Lori marz with the financial support of the European Union

Children in Antaramut and Geghasar settlements will benefit from early learning

08 July 2022
Cutting the red ribbon of a newly established preschool. UNICEF Representative and EU Ambassador are featured
UNICEF Armenia/2022/Margaryan

YEREVAN, 8 July 2022 – With the financial support of the European Union and in coordination with the RA Ministries of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, and of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, Lori regional authorities and other partners, UNICEF established two new preschool services in Antaramut settlement of Pambak consolidated community and Geghasar settlement of Spitak consolidated community. Three to five-year-old children living in these two settlements have never had the opportunity to get early childhood education because the communities did not have a preschool, just like other children living in a number of other small rural settlements across Armenia.

“European Union is partnering with the Government of Armenia, UNICEF and other partners to invest in policies and programmes that help parents give their children the best start. By the end of 2023, 25 new centres in other rural communities will be established, contributing to progress towards the national goal of 70 per cent enrolment in preschool. We are happy to provide this opportunity of early childhood education and care for children, which will help them develop knowledge and skills at the starting point of their educational journey,” said EU Ambassador to Armenia, Andrea Wiktorin.

“The science shows us that biology is not destiny and that what children experience in the early years of life shapes and defines their futures, determining their cognitive, emotional and social development, their capacity to learn and their future success. We need to turn that science into an alarm bell, because only 16 percent of 3–6-year-old children living in rural areas attend preschool in Armenia,” noted Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia. “Interventions in early childhood are an effective and cost-efficient way to break intergenerational cycles of inequity and provide every child with a fair start in life.”

In these two communities, over 40 children aged 0-6 will now be able to benefit from this crucial service before they start school. Based on UNICEF’s alternative model of preschool services, piloted in 2015 and adopted as an integral part of pre-school education policy in Armenia, these centers are cost-effective, allowing small communities to cover maintenance costs to ensure sustainability (more about the alternative model).

“The establishment of alternative preschools in small communities of Antaramut and Geghasar is very much appreciated, as small communities do not have the necessary resources to establish these services on their own. At the same time, early learning is an extremely important educational milestone, as it provides children with the opportunity to be well prepared for school and to realize their full potential in the community,” noted Hovhannes Avetisyan, Deputy Governor of Lori. “On behalf of Governor Aram Khachatryan and myself, I would like to thank all organizations and individuals who have initiated and brought this endeavor to its wonderful end. I would like to assure you that Lori regional administration is ready to support these educational initiatives. I would also like to congratulate early childhood educators, children and caregivers and wish them a happy start.”

Within the framework of the Future Today project, funded by the European Union, UNICEF partnered the local municipalities to renovate and refurbish the allocated rooms and bathrooms, and joined efforts with the Step-by-Step Foundation to ensure selection and training of teachers, and to provide the new centers with educational materials, toys, books and games. Solar panels were also installed to reduce heating and, consequently, maintenance costs. Within the framework of the program, trainings were organized for caregivers who can take on the role of preschool teacher, providing them with new methodologies of working with young children, especially in mixed age groups. Local municipalities are committed to sustain the established services through allocation of funds for recurrent costs such as teacher salaries and utilities.

In 2022, three new preschool services in Hartashen, Karashen and Khoznavar communities of Syunik were established in June with the support of UNICEF and the European Union. At the end of July, two additional new preschools will be opened in Lori marz in Qarkop settlement of Shnog community and in Saratovka settlement of Tashir community. In addition, with the support of the Armenian community of Argentina and Hayastan All Armenian Fund, UNICEF is working to renovate and refurbish Goris kindergarten #5 so that the community can enroll more children and provide early learning in a safe environment.

Media contacts

Zara Sargsyan
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Armenia
Tel: 37455232169
Tel: 37410580174

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