By David Youngmeyer
At a kindergarten in Homs city, children learn basic Arabic and English alphabets along with numeracy skills. They play with children their own age and take part in games, sport, music and dancing. Learning by playing, such as with puppets and blocks, is critical to prepare them for school and for life-long learning. Playing with other children also helps them recover from any traumas they’ve experienced.
Supported by UNICEF and run by our partner Al Inshaat Charity, the kindergarten is attended by 430 children aged 3-5 years in two shifts; morning and afternoon. The building was previously a private nursery that closed down because of the conflict. Fighting still rages and the sound of shelling can be heard in the background above the ordinary bustle of the kindergarten classes. Frequent electricity cuts mean that the children have to wear jackets in class in an effort to keep warm.
Along with the Ministry of Education and other partners, we’ve reached more than 35,000 pre-school children across Syria with early development kits designed to encourage development and social interaction through class activities, playing and story-telling.