Little Sisters Preschool
Summary: Little Sisters Preschool is an early childhood education and development program that uses a unique and progressive curriculum to holistically develop institutionalized children aged 2-8 years so that they can reach their full potential and be fully integrated into the mainstream Chinese national education system. --- At Half the Sky's Little Sisters Preschools, trained teachers use a unique and progressive curriculum that blends principles of the Italian Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education with preschool teacher training in the United States and contemporary Chinese teaching methods. The program is designed to prepare institutionalized children aged 2-8 years to succeed in Chinese schools and to help them deve...
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Description of Scale and Reach
The Little Sisters Preschool program began in 2000 as a pilot program for 80 children at two government-run orphanages. Half the Sky is in the midst of a six-year national training initiative, the Rainbow Program. The Rainbow Program is designed to reach caregivers in every orphanage in China. HTS is co-training caregivers, with permission from the Chinese government - which has recently embraced child-centered approaches to early childhood education. In addition to face-to-face training, the Rainbow Program includes an online learning platform that brings the far-flung child welfare community together to discuss best practices, view a video resource library, and take online courses. In the wake of Rainbow training, some administrators in orphanages where HTS has established Little Sisters Preschools are establishing Half the Sky-inspired preschools that incorporate HTS's child-centered approach and curriculum. HTS is supporting those efforts that are providing a means of scaling its program by placing a Child Development Expert, who provides continuous training and mentoring, in every province the Rainbow Program has reached. The program now reaches 2,500 preschool-aged children at 47 government-run orphanages. Over the next five years, it is expected that the project will operate in a model center in every provincial capital of China, adding a minimum of seven additional institutions to the current 47. Half the Sky Foundation will continue to work closely with its partners, and through training and support, endeavor to reach every one of the nearly 300,000 preschool-aged children still living in welfare institutions.