Tarayana Foundation’s Early Childhood Care and Development Centers

The Tarayana Foundation’s Early Childhood Care and Development Centers use play-based learning to prepare 3 to 5 year old children for school and provide rural communities with safe, free early childhood services in remote villages of Bhutan.
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Year launched: 
2010
Launch country: 

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting
Primary Approach: 
Implementer: 
Tarayana Foundation
Primary Topic: 
Education level (ISCED): 

Location Data

State/Province: 
Trongsa District, Zhemgang District, Mongar District, Dagana District, Sarpang District and Samtse District
Geography type: 
Program Description: 

The Early Childhood Care and Development Program is a center-based initiative of the Tarayana Foundation that concentrates on improving school readiness of young, undernourished children.  The centers operate in remote communities of Bhutan, where young children are otherwise left unattended while parents complete daily work.  The program drives positive change in communities by preparing children from 3 to 5 years of age for primary school and enabling parents to pursue income-generating activities.

Through the centers, children are provided with educational and nutritional support.  Children develop critical thinking skills through educational games and the creation of stories.  Facilitators guide children through learning exercises and songs, narrate stories, and facilitate vocabulary building exercises.  The centers also equip parents with techniques for promoting child development through parent discussion groups.  Parent education follows the curriculum guide developed by Bhutan’s Ministry of Education, UNICEF Bhutan and Save the Children Bhutan. The centers supplement the nutritional needs of children with drinks and snacks throughout the day.

As of 2015, there were 25 Early Childhood Care and Development Centers in operation.  Where possible, the centers are located in existing community buildings. The Tarayana Foundation constructs new shelters as needed and the Bhutanese Ministry of Education, Bhutanese District Administration and local community assist with the establishment of new centers.  The centers are free for participating families.  Donors provide funds for the initial costs of center establishment and recurring costs, such as facilitator salaries and nutritional supplementation, are paid by the Tarayana Foundation.  Facilitators of the program are trained by the Tarayana Foundation in collaboration with the Institute of Management Studies with support from Bhutan’s Ministry of Labour and Human Resources.  Where possible, the facilitators serve in their own communities.  

 

Photo Courtesy of Tarayana Foundation.

Highlighting Innovation: 
The Early Childhood Care and Development Centers approach primary school preparation from a holistic ethos that focuses on education, nutrition and parental engagement in rural communities where preprimary services are otherwise unavailable.
Key Challenges: 
Obtaining sufficient funding is the primary challenge faced by Early Childhood Care and Development Centers, as funding for teacher salaries and nutritional supplementation is limited.