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Investing in transition: a path to sustainable early childhood development and education

Tue, April 16, 1:30 to 3:00pm, Hyatt Regency, Pacific Concourse (Level -1), Pacific G

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session


Early childhood represents a period of significant growth and development from prenatal to 8 years of age. These changes in growth and development are dependent on the kinds of care and support young children receive starting from conception. However, many young children miss the opportunity for continued early learning and care, especially during the transitional periods from home to preschool to primary school. Despite strong evidence that standard care and education for young children should build and support a continuum of services from birth through third grade, many early childhood interventions do not necessarily link the pre-primary to primary school, thus creating a gap in the learning and care experiences of children. Studies show that supporting children through transactional mechanisms as they moved into kindergarten and the primary grades closes the short-term gap and sustains children’s social-emotional and academic competencies. This fact provides a strong rationale for the importance of continuity in the transition from early childhood to school age settings.

This transition gap has implications for young children with an estimated 250 million children, in low- and middle-income countries, under the age of 5 not meeting their full developmental potential. For example, when children enter primary grades without the foundational skill for reading, math, social and emotional development in pre-primary school, differences in learning outcome become magnified over time and children are unlikely to catch up with their peers (USAID, 2018). On the other hand, children who receive early learning show improvement in learning. In a randomized control study, children in Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia , Mozambique who have quality early learning intervention entered school ready to learn and exhibited more achievements in academic and social skills. Pre-primary education is also shown to economic impact with every dollar spent; there is a $4 to $9 return to individuals and society This shows the significant role that transition play in children’s success in school, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized children (e.g., ethnic minorities and children with disabilities).

This panel will present on the results of three pilot studies on the transition of children from pre-primary to primary school. Presenters will share different approaches that can enhance children’s readiness to learn and succeed in Grade 1 and beyond. Among many inquiries, the discourse of the panel will look into essential ideas such as: What is the role of inclusive home-made toys on the transition children with disabilities from pre-primary to primary? What are student enrollment rates in pre-primary education and its relationship with primary repetition? What is the effect of a community-led school readiness camp on improving literacy outcomes for minority language children transitioning to Grade 1?

Below is the presentation title and presenters of three different approaches from Cambodia, Uganda and Lao’s People Democratic Republic (PDR).

Presentation Title: Locally made toys for supporting smooth pre-primary to primary school transition for children with disabilities (CRS Cambodia)
Presenter Name: Sean Kosal, Catholic Relief Services, Cambodia

Presentation II: A national study of over-enrollment and repetition in Primary Grade 1 in Uganda: What is the role of pre-primary? (RTI International)
Presenter Name: Rehemah Nahawa, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program

Presentation III: Community-based approach for supporting school readiness of minority language children in Laos PDR
Presenter Name: Cornelia Sage, Catholic Relief Services

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