First Read, early childhood care and development programme, to extend for next 3 years

first-read_x3x.JPG_964662967

first-read_x2x.JPG_964662967

first-read_x4x.jpg_77160178

first-read_x1x.jpg_77159286

first-read_x3x.JPG_964662967
first-read_x2x.JPG_964662967
first-read_x4x.jpg_77160178
first-read_x1x.jpg_77159286

Phnom Penh, February 8, 2016–More than 40,000 Cambodian children have received home-based early childhood care and development (ECCD) support to date through the First Read Program.

The three-year initative, funded bythe Prudence Foundation - a charitable arm of Prudential Corporation Asia - began in 2013 delivered by Save the Children in partnership with Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, youth education-focused NGOs Sipar and Wathanakpeap, and other stakeholders within four target provinces of Kampong Cham, Tboung Kmom, Kratie and Prey Veng.

First Read aims to promote reading and learning among children under 6 years old through development and provision of quality reading materials that are appropriate for children’s age group. The program also promotes improved early access to stimulation and development for youngchildren through ECCD support.

“Studies have shown that children are able to learn to read more easily if they start to do so early in life. Save the Children works with local authors and publishers to produce and supply quality books for small children. It also works with local authorities, the community and the children’s families to help them acquire skills to teach their small children who aren’t old enough to attend schools,” said Khoy Rany, ECCD advisor at Save the Children. 

Since implementation started, the program has provided training to more than 200 teachers and more than 200 commune-level focal persons for women and children as well as 39,451 parents and guardians from 1,062 villages in the target provinces. The program has also distributed 109,541 books to 47,688 children. 

According to a baseline survey before the program started, merely 5% of parents with children aged between 3 and 5 had access to an early learning program and only 40% were providing child-friendly care and stimulation to their children. However, after three years of First Read home-based ECCD programming, 91% of parents had access to programs designed to help them support their children’s early learning and 84%were providing positive care and stimulation.

The number of children under six years old receiving ECCD support has increased from 15% to almost 27%, according to Save the Children’s evaluation.

“The importance of early childhood care and development cannot be overlooked. Many children in Cambodia are not able to realize their full potential because they do not have the opportunity to attend school from an early age. Having a firm early childhood foundation can help children to become successful both in school and as adults, and can inspire them to be more actively involved in society. For these reasons, we are delighted to be expanding this program,” said Marc Fancy, Executive Director of the Prudence Foundation.

After three years of remarkable achievements in helping Cambodia’s young children, the program will now be extended for another three years, with the official announcement taking place at the “ECCD First Read Achievement” workshop on February 08 in the capital Phnom Penh.

Parents and children benefitting from First Read said they appreciate the Prudence Foundation’s extension of the program.

“My child has become very smart. Her learning is moving forward. The [First Read] Program is very good,” said Mrs. Peng Sokhim, who participated in the program in Kampong Cham in 2013.

With the contribution of First Read Program, it is expected that early childhood literacy will be significantly promoted and children will earn stronger school achievements in their general education.

 

Back to Top