April 13, 2022
More children and their families in Nepal can now access early childhood education resources and training to help increase oral language and pre-reading skills through weekly posts on Let’s Read Nepal’s Facebook page.
The posts are part of a program launched by The Asia Foundation’s Ready2Read and Play project, which is being funded by All Children Reading through the Ready2Read Challenge. The Ready2Read challenge focuses on innovation in foundational literacy for preschool children.
In Nepal, early childhood education (ECE) enrollment is low, especially among the poorest, where only 41 percent are able to access any type of ECE resources. Children are often ill-equipped to successfully start and stay in school, and families do not have resources to provide meaningful support to remedy the situation. Through the Ready2Read and Play project, the Foundation, in partnership with Child Workers in Nepal, is training community mobilizers as ECE facilitators as well as engaging children and families through 30 weekly, in-person Ready2Read and Play sessions aligned with the Government of Nepal’s ECE curriculum.
To reach more families, The Asia Foundation is posting on its Facebook page much of the same curriculum enjoyed by the project’s direct participants. Posts feature a story, concept, and activity of the week as well as explanatory video-clips. Through the social media campaign, families can also access the same books and activities that incentivize the project’s primary participants. The Foundation plans to continue using social media beyond the 30-week program to encourage reading behavior change throughout the 12-month project.
“We know that reading support at home increases literacy and educational outcomes,” says All Children Reading Program Manager Valerie Siwotso. “We are very excited to have these fun activities and stories available online so that thousands more Nepali children and families can benefit.”
ACR GCD launched the Ready2Read Challenge in August 2021 to catalyze the development of EdTech solutions and activities that enable marginalized children ages 3 to 6 to build foundational language and literacy skills at home and at school. Over 175 million children globally are not enrolled in pre-primary education during these vital years of their lives. COVID-19 has only exacerbated these challenges, as millions more children have missed out on early childhood education due to closures of childcare and early education facilities due to the pandemic.
In addition to targeting key foundational language skills of preschool children, the solutions will promote family and community participation. Parents, caregivers, teachers and facilitators will have reading materials and tools to help their children in early learning, especially those that didn’t go to school due to COVID-19 and other crises.
One of the parents involved shared that the program has helped engage their children more in reading. “In addition,” they wrote, “this has also helped us to spend more time with our children and improve our (both parents and children) reading and language skills.”