One of the newest schools to become involved with ICRI Nepal’s early childhood education program is the Kesh Chandra Primary School. The school is located in the historic Hanuman Dhoka area of Kathmandu, inside the grounds of a temple.
The school caters to very low income families from the nearby community, and currently offers primary school education from grades one to five. There is no early childhood classroom. However, many of the older children bring their younger siblings to school each day, as their parents must work and have no other options for child care. This means that children as young as 2 spend most of their day sitting silently at desks, and don’t get the developmentally-appropriate learning environment they need. They also distract the teachers and older siblings from age-appropriate instruction for the primary school students.
Because of ICRI Nepal’s past success in helping other primary schools add early childhood classrooms, the District Education Office reached out to us and asked us to help the teachers and staff at Kesh Chandra. ICRI Nepal staff has begun visiting the school to complete a needs assessment and to work with the teachers, staff, and parents to develop a vision for the new early childhood program.
There are a number of challenges at this particular site. The existing classroom space is extremely small and cramped. All five grades of the primary school are currently packed into a very small area, with makeshift cubicles dividing the grades. There is little light and poor ventilation. There are no materials other than outdated textbooks, and no space for the children to move freely.
And yet, there is a dedicated staff, a supportive principal, and many bright young minds eager to learn. Not to mention the involvement of ICRI Nepal, which is already speaking to the temple leadership about freeing up additional space within the compound for an early childhood classroom.
Visiting Kesh Chandra, it is hard to imagine the school someday containing a vibrant, developmentally-appropriate child development space. However, as I’ve shared in previous weeks, ICRI Nepal is certainly capable of achieving this kind of transformation. I’ve already told you about how they turned a closet into a classroom. How they help teachers to rethink their entire concept of early childhood education. How they can craft a beautiful learning environment out of found objects and locally-made materials. And how they even convinced a group of teachers to give up their own office space to make a better learning environment for young children.
So I have no doubt that they will be able to achieve a remarkable transformation for the young children currently sitting silently behind their desks in the dark, cramped classrooms at Kesh Chandra Primary School… but these kinds of transformations are only possible with the support of people like you. We need to continuously raise funds to pay for the costs of renovating buildings, training teachers, purchasing materials, and hiring staff. A donation of any amount helps us to make developmentally-appropriate early childhood education a reality for children and families in Nepal. On behalf of ICRI Nepal, I want to thank you so much for your interest and support, and ask you to please consider making a donation today.