It Takes a Village

As discussed in our last post, ICRI Nepal-- like all of ICRI’s offices around the world--has a comprehensive approach to child advocacy.  We believe that children don’t exist in isolation.  We work to help the whole child—and that means supporting the child’s family, the child’s school, and the child’s community, however we can.  This is why our programs encompass HIV/AIDS prevention, community economic development, maternal/child health, and a range of other subjects.  It’s all part of our effort to empower the village to raise the child.

At the same time, early childhood education is at the heart of ICRI’s international programs, and ICRI Nepal is no exception.  I want to feature just a few more of the early childhood classrooms that have been impacted by ICRI Nepal’s National Center for Learning Resources.

ICRI Nepal has been working with the Pragati School since 2005.  The school serves a very large number of children from mixed caste/mixed income backgrounds.  However, like many schools in Nepal, there is simply not enough space to accommodate all of the children easily.

Since the school staff was eager to add an early childhood classroom, ICRI Nepal brought in several volunteers to renovate and paint an unused room off the school’s courtyard.  The classroom was soon filled with children, and the teachers, staff, and parents were very proud of the new addition to their school community.

At the same time, there were serious structural problems with the early childhood space, including a lack of windows, which caused problems with light and ventilation.  ICRI Nepal worked hard to engage the school community in a series of meetings and visioning workshops, so that everyone could have input into a strategic plan for improving the early childhood classroom and the school as a whole.

(old early childhood classroom)

And what was the result?  The teachers volunteered to give up their office space, two rooms adjacent to the main courtyard.  The rooms were small, but lined with windows and full of light.  Although the teachers had enjoyed this space for many years, they decided that it was more important to utilize it as a learning environment for young children.

The entire school community pitched in to craft the new early childhood rooms.  ICRI Nepal commissioned and designed new furniture and materials for the space.  Teachers from the school began attending National Center for Learning Resources trainings.  And ICRI Nepal staff worked side by side in the classrooms with the teachers, parents, and the very supportive school administration.

What’s resulted is a beautiful early childhood learning environment.  The children are engaged.  The teachers are caring.  The principal is supportive.  The parents are delighted.  And working together as a team, they’ve achieved something remarkable.