Time to Be a Child
Play, learning and child-centred development for children affected by the Syrian crisis
Early Childhood, Care & Development (ECCD) programmes, help children transition to school and promote retention and success at school. ECCD programmes have a specific role to play in emergency settings. Evidence demonstrates that young children in emergencies are prone to ‘toxic stress' – a condition caused by extreme, prolonged adversity in the absence of a supportive network of adults, or by being in contact with deeply stressed or incapacitated caregivers. In 2015, War Child UK conducted an in-depth needs assessment of education provision for refugees in Jordan. Findings demonstrated that whilst there was a plethora of organisations providing informal education for displaced Syrian children, there were very few organisations working in ECCD in emergencies. ‘Time to be a Child' is a three-year programme that will deliver play, learning and child-centred development activities to children affected by the Syrian crisis in Jordan and Lebanon.There are a number of recommendations we can draw from War Child UK's ECCD intervention in Jordan to inform future approaches to refugee education:
- Develop tools and resources when possible with local education authorities to build long term relationships and increase understanding of the approach.
- Providing nutritious fruit snacks has proven to be popular with children, despite initial hesitation from other early years providers, who pressed that children were only interested in cookies or sugary snacks.
- Resources should be open sourced- there is a plethora of materials available and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. For the positive parenting interventions, War Child UK uses International Rescue Committee's Positive Parenting resources, War Child Holland's PARENTS DEALS, in addition to the Parental Education component developed by the country office. All materials are available online.
- Where possible, recruit both male and female Early Childhood teachers / facilitators. A diverse workforce provides children with a more accurate reflection of the gender mix of their community and the world around them. Male early years practitioners can provide the experience of a positive male role model and have the potential to play an influencing role in supporting fathers in their involvement and understanding in initiatives such as PARENTS DEALS.