It is important for any child to be prepared before starting school. The ones in our village in Morocco weren’t, because there was no Pre-School for children.
When we started working in the Atlas Mountains in 2012, we carried out a “zero measurement study”, focused on the education level. For children between 6 – 16 years old, the results were fairly positive compared to those from the adults: over 90% are currently going to school. However, pre-school education was non-existent, which lead to unprepared children starting a short compulsory education cycle of only 6 years. The result is an overall poor education level, even for those who did not quit school to start working to help their families.
In our conversations with the mothers, they repeatedly emphasized that their biggest wish was to have a pre-school for their children.
We started the pre-school in 2013 with 12 children. Lahcen, our teacher, a man from the village who has gone through the education system himself, took over the teaching. As for today, in 2016, we count 32 children in our class, with another 25 from neighboring villages on the waiting list. After 2 years, the first group of children went from pre- to primary school in 2015 and the teacher confirmed: the children from our pre-school are the best in the class! They are curious and able to use their pre-knowledge, which helps them to have a better and faster understanding, allowing them to be on top of the subjects tought. Their dreams are now to become doctors or lawyers.
The fact that we have a waiting list and the commendation of the local teacher who confirmed that having a pre-school is making a difference, gives us the sense that we are on the right track. It encourages us to take on more projects like this – to provide children with a great start to a curious and happy life!