by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
The Pacific Early Age Readiness and Learning Project is an educational program funded by the Global Partnership for Education, and implemented by the World Bank.
The two main goals of the program are to support children to develop key skills that will be useful at school, and also to help more children learn to read and write in their first years of primary school.
With the aim of helping build better education policies and programs in the Pacific region, the program is implemented and conducted in communities to help children under the age of 5 before they reach the primary education level.
The groups running the program use activities such as nature walks, reading, sensory and messy play, and social and vocabulary skills to help build confidence while creating a comfortable learning environment for both parents and their children.
In its test phase in Tonga, children who went through this program have shown they have a better grasp of learning and reading skills. This has encouraged the program to increase and expand its capacity to reach out to the many young children.
With positive feedback generated from the program, it is slowly reaching out. Other island nations to potentially take part include Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.
Apart from helping the young children, the program also provides new teaching methods for its teachers to expand and enhance their scope of teaching.
This helps both the teachers and the children in their learning. The program is slowly reaching out and in some years’ time, should be implemented in other Pacific Island nations for young children.