1.5 million vulnerable children under 5 in Colombia do not participate in early childhood programs. aeioTU operates high quality, integrated ECD centers, specifically targeting low-income families.
The aeioTU holistic model, based on the Reggio Emilia approach, supports children’s socio-emotional, cognitive, linguistic, and physical development. The aeioTU curriculum encourages play, creativity, communication, critical thinking and exploration, and emphasizes positive and reciprocal relationships between children and adults. Centers offer vaccination opportunities and support for gestating mothers, cover 70% of children’s daily nutritional needs, and promote healthy habits and breastfeeding. aeioTU pays special attention to the physical environment of its centers, including furniture, decoration and set-up, and toys. aeioTU incorporates a cross-subsidization component, using profits from two centers for high-income families to subsidize costs for children from low-income families that attend 26 other centers. aeioTU provides both training and ongoing support and coaching to teachers.
In addition to operating 28 centers, aeioTU runs a home visiting program to reach families in more remote areas, and provides technical assistance to more than 300 public ECD centers, reaching some 53,000 children. In 2011, aeioTU was identified as a “Best Practice” by the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) hosted by the Qatar Foundation.
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CEI approaches in action
When aeioTU opens a new center, it receives a list of registered children and families in the area from the regional or local Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF), the Colombian government's national family welfare agency, and/or from the local government. If this list has more potential candidates than places, aeioTU prioritizes children by need, using critieria such as if a child is displaced, comes from an indigenous background, or is otherwise vulnerable.
- aeioTU is now present in 13 cities/municipalities of Colombia
- 803 children come from displaced families
- 468 children are afro-descendant
- 56 children have disabilities
aeioTU began to replicate its center-based model in 2010. In 2012, aeioTU served some 6,000 children in 18 centers. In 2015, aeioTU reached more than 13,000 children across 28 centers. aeioTU has further expanded its model by providing technical assistance to more than 300 public ECD centers along Colombia's Caribbean coast.
Monitoring & Evaluation
aeioTU developed and uses Conectú software to monitor the quality of its centers, teachers' performance, and children's development across 6 dimensions: cognitive, socio-emotional, physical, creative, linguistic, and health and nutrition.