Why Kindergarten?

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Why Kindergarten?

The reasons why kindergarten is such an excellent investment opportunity are very compelling.  The research indicates that pre-school education improves the individual’s standard of living as well as that of the local community and ultimately the country as it provides significant growth in human capital, economic and social domains.  The return on your investment in kindergarten development through Project Kindy will yield a significant return for disadvantaged children and their families in rural Malawi, Africa. Moreover, each dollar given will make an empowering, effective, long term impact.

“Studies have shown that investing in early childhood education is a cost-effective strategy that can mitigate childhood disadvantage, producing higher rates of economic return for the individual person, community, and country.   Kindergarten education leads to cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and moral developmental gains that carry over into later stages of development. However, the promotion of universal access to quality early childhood education and care remains a significant challenge for educators and policymakers in Africa. ” Oxford Bibliographies author, Joseph Agbenyega

School Readiness: A Conceptual Framework

© United Nations Children’s Fund:  New York, Updated in April 2012

“Giving children a good start through kindergarten not only counters the worst effects of poverty, but may also be the most effective means of halting cross-generational poverty. When equity in access to early education and learning is improved, greater economic benefits accrue to individuals themselves and collectively to society.

Approaches to economic growth and development consider human capital as a key conduit for sustained and viable development, the inception of which begins in the early years.  Research has indicated that school readiness is linked to improved learning, school completion, later skill development, and acquisition of academic competencies and non-academic success.

Success in school is determined by a range of basic behaviours and abilities, including literacy, numeracy, ability to follow directions, working well with other children and engaging in learning activities.  Aspects of the social and emotional domain include sustained attention, emotional regulation, following directions, social relationships and social cognition. Language and literacy take oral language and emerging literacy into account. And math skills include early understanding of mathematical concepts, measurement logic and prenumeracy skills.

In particular, school readiness programs have a great impact on primary school equity outcomes. Evidence abounds that disadvantaged students are those making the most dramatic gains from ECD programmes and in turn from school readiness programs.

Return on investment can be estimated for such factors as reduction in education costs, increase in human productivity and income, and benefits to society.   With respect to earning profiles, productivity and participation in active citizenship, the school readiness return on investment in human capital has been quite substantial in developing countries.

Moreover, studies from 51 countries demonstrate on average a 9.7 per cent increase in wages with each year of schooling. This data is supported by the evidence that school readiness is one of the main predictors of later school achievement and learning.  A greater earning citizenry contributes to the economic growth of a country.

Additionally, societal benefits of school readiness include promotion of the universal right of all individuals to education, a greater social justice and social cohesion, a better efficiency of education systems, better health outcomes, poverty reduction and higher growth.

Data from three of the largest developing regions of the world, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America, demonstrate high rates of return on investment in education. These social returns on investment for primary school education, i.e., benefits to society accounting for public costs of education, are 24 per cent for sub-Saharan Africa, 20 per cent for Asia and 18 per cent for Latin America compared to 14 per cent for the developed world.”

why kindergartens? invest in project kindy to see significant return on the lives of children, communities and the whole country.

Why Kindergarten Investment through Project Kindy?

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

Project Kindy is a small candle, but it shines brighter every day as more of you join our Village to make a tangible, longlasting impact in the lives of kindergarten children and their families suffering extreme poverty in Africa.  We fundraise in Australia to empower remote communities in rural Malawi to run their own kindergartens within the management and supervision of the Canossian Sisters.  Project Kindy is Empowering, Efficient and Enjoyable and we hope you will join us as a monthly donor, social media advocate, volunteer, guest at our events or as a partner in fundraising efforts through other channels such as your business, organisation or school.

Empowering

“We should not think only in terms of economic growth when we try to understand poverty reduction. It is vital that we work to empower poor people to participate in the process. And poverty occurs in many more dimensions than income. Empowering poor people so that they can participate in economic growth requires investments in health, in education, and in social protection as well as building institutions that enable them to participate in decisions that shape their lives.”  World Bank chief economist, Nicholas Stern 

With over 40 years of experience in charitable work in Malawi, Sr Josephine has seen firsthand why kindergarten is the best way to help improve lives within a partnership model between donors and beneficiaries.  As active leaders and participants our communities avoid the pitfalls of long term, passive receivership and are growing in skills and confidence as they progress towards their own goals of changing the lives of their children, community and country through education.

village chief and sub chiefs, parents, teachers and wider community members discuss why kindergarten is so important in rural Malawi

Crucially, the village leaders, teachers and parents consistently and enthusiastically show why kindergarten is so important to them.  They also stress to us that they see education as the way forward and the children are thirsty for knowledge and experiences. This integrated support between community, parents and kindergartens is a key factor in the success of the kindergartens.

“The three dimensions of school readiness are: Ready Children – children’s learning and development; Ready Schools – support a smooth transition for children into primary school; and Ready Families – parental and caregiver attitudes and involvement in their children’s early learning and development and transition to school. All three dimensions are important and must work in tandem, because school readiness is a time of transition that requires the interface between individuals, families and systems.” United Nations Children’s Fund

How do the Malawian Villages collaborate with the Canossian Sisters and Project Kindy?   The day-to-day effectiveness of the kindergartens relies on the leadership, generosity and hardwork of the local Malawian teachers and parents and the enthusiasm of the children:

Firstly, the head chief and sub chiefs initiate the establishment of the kindergarten, give approval for the teachers and the location and construction of the shelter within the village, form a Parents and Citizens committee and send a Sub-Chief to Sr Josephine for monthly support meetings.

Secondly, the parents contribute a great deal. They give small fees when they can as well more ingredients for the lunches such as groundnuts or salt. They build the temporary structure from sticks and/or mud and often make their own bricks in the hope of receiving help to build permanent buildings.  The mums walk their children to school and stay for the duration, giving enthusiastic encouragement to the children as they learn.

“Parents’ education goals for their children and their beliefs, attitudes and commitment to education are considered to be crucial for school success.” United Nations Children’s Fund

Thirdly, the teachers provide life-changing development across literacy, numeracy and social domains, giving the children the incredible gift of school readiness.  Critically, they teach the children literacy and numeracy in both English and Chichewa (Malawi national language), emotional and behavioural skills and they provide a fun, caring and safe place for children to learn.  Your donations provide wages which free these men and women from the pressures of subsistence farming to give more time to receive more training and create better learning experiences and resources for the children. Your donations also empower each kindergarten to employ a cook to provide crucial nutritious lunches for the students.

“In environments characterised by poverty, the problems of learning are compounded when the language used in school is not a child’s first language, and the chances of dropout increase correspondingly – particularly affecting, for example, low-income, minority and vulnerable children. Multi-lingual kindergartens mitigate this risk.” United Nations Children’s Fund

Finally, the children themselves walk a long way to kindergarten and are ready and eager to learn and their smiles clearly show why kindergarten is worth investing in. Our kindergartens reach children in remote areas and give them a head start with English and maths and behavioural/social skills, which are key factors for their future success at school.

the smile on this little boy at our Project Kindy kindergarten answers the questions, why kindergarten

How does the Aussie Project Kindy Village contribute?

It is incredible to realise your donations make it possible for these rural communities to achieve a better life for their children, villages and country.  Your kind gifts of funds cover the cost of food and wages and hopefully as more of you become involved, we can expand to providing permanent buildings and wells.  As Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs suggests, we can only achieve optimal quality of kindergarten education if we provide the basics first, for example food, wages, permanent buildings which can safely store learning materials and wells which can provide access to water.

Wells cost $8000 each and the permanent buildings cost $12 000 each.  Sr Josephine is an expert at organising both by utilising the services of reputable, reliable, local companies, which is another way your donations improve the wider community and economy.  The wells will change the lives of not only the children but the whole villages, especially women, surrounding the kindergarten as it will save hours of work walking to and carrying back water.  The kindergartens will be much improved with proper shelter, security for resources and solar power for lighting and use of mobile devices for communication and education.  Moreover, the provision of basic needs intergrated into village life is another reason why kindergarten is a clever model to alleviate poverty.

We hope you and/or your business, school or organisation will invest in the $4/month kindergarten fees which cover food and wages, a well or even a building and see the significant return for the individual children’s learning and development, the community’s access to basic services and ultimately the economic and social benefits to Malawi.

enthusiastic teachers and students learning songs in english and chichewa answering the question why kindergarten

Efficient

Project Kindy aims to optimise the outcomes for our beneficiaries with the most streamlined, inexpensive operational strategies for fundraising.

  1. 100% of your donation is transferred directly from our Project Kindy Bank Account to the Canossian Sisters’ Bank Account strictly for the purpose of covering kindergarten fees at 10 rural kindergartens in rural Malawi.  We have a separate bank account for our expenses that our Capacity Building Donors give to, so we have no need to touch the general donations.
  2. Our annual budget is very specific and covers food, wages and transport costs. For instance, we know your donations buy 300 x 50kg bags of corn for the year of lunches.  We simplify the Sisters’ reporting back process by sending only two large donations a year.
  3. We operate online, reducing time and expenses.  Firstly, our website, projectkindy.com, tells our story in more detail, accepts donations quickly and easily and sells tickets for events.  Secondly, our Facebook and Instagram pages inform and entertain viewers, makes sharing our message online easy and directs people to our webiste.  Thirdly, we only email 4   quarterly reports to keep you updated without the need for constant spam.
  4. Project Kindy fundraising events are a collaborative effort.  We have one major Project Kindy Benefit a year which is a wonderful, fun and meaningful evening for our village members and their friends.  We also gratefully accept fundraising support from individuals and organisations who run their own campaigns and events for our beneficiaries.

However, through all of this, our overarching focus is on building lasting, respectful and ever-deepening relationships with our Project Kindy Village Members.  We want you to feel that Project Kindy is worth your time and/or money and to know why kindergarten investment directly impacts on people in need in Africa for a very long time, making your contribution a very meaningful and enjoyable one.

Enjoyable

The feedback we consistently get from our donors and volunteers is that they are grateful for a sense of joy and meaning they receive from being involved in Project Kindy.

Initially, individuals enjoy giving purpose to their finances.  They appreciate the direct link to the grassroots, knowing where their money is specifically going and the impact it is making.  Over time however, Project Kindy does something special to a person’s heart and life.  We love our donors and we want to keep you for a very long time and go on this adventure together.  Who knows?  Maybe one day you’ll come to Malawi and meet these people for yourself and really know deep down how powerful your contribution to this collaborative project has been.

We also find that businesses, schools and other groups find joy and meaning in being involved in Project Kindy. The feedback we get is that not only the staff appreciate partnering with us, but so do their customers, clients, members, students or families.  There is something wonderful about firstly the direct link to our beneficiaries and secondly the promise that 100% of your donation will reach these children in need and provide the incredible gift of school readiness.

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”  In fact it is even better to light a candle and work, love and dance around it with all your might and heart!

Join our Village and add your light and help us burn brighter!

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