Early Childhood Development

Disadvantaged Childhoods

Palestinian children suffer from many disadvantages that get in the way of their development.

No child should experience trauma, but the impact of living under continuous occupation and violence disastrously affects the mental wellbeing of children in Palestine who have never experienced any other reality. Four out of five children living in Gaza reported experiencing depression, grief, and fear.

Despite more global awareness about the importance of early childhood development to cognitive, social and emotional growth, only one-third of all Palestinian four and five year-olds in the West Bank and Gaza are enrolled in preschool.

Due to the tense and often violent surroundings Palestinian children are forced into from birth, quality early childhood development is needed to give children a healthy start.

Holistic Early Childhood Development in Palestine Preschools

Anera’s work in early childhood development in Palestine is built on a long-term, holistic, and sustainable model that combines physical infrastructure improvements in schools with comprehensive professional development trainings for teachers.

Anera established Right Start! — a comprehensive early childhood development program — in partnership with government ministries, non-profits, and training institutions. Right Start! is investing in key areas, including upgrades to preschool infrastructure, teacher development, improved learning materials, and community outreach. The program also addresses wider strategic issues by supporting the development of a national early childhood development strategy and policy.

Right Start takes a holistic approach to early childhood development. A key to building a vibrant, generous society is providing children the tools for critical thinking, tolerance and understanding, as well as nurturing respect for our differences and the basic rights of others. Our program incorporates creative elements, such as art, drama and play to encourage children to release tensions and emotions provoked by the conflict surrounding them.

Anera also provides fun and educational summer camps for preschool children in Gaza. These camps allow kids to escape the harsh realities of life and express their emotions in a safe environment. The staff use arts and crafts as psychosocial support for the children.

Anera has built or renovated more than 10% of the preschools in Palestine.

In partnership with other NGOs, Anera developed the national kindergarten curriculum launched by the Ministry in October 2017. The Ministry disseminated the curriculum to all (2,000+) kindergartens in the West Bank and Gaza.

Anera has also updated preschools in four of the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

How It Works

  • Teacher Training

    Teachers take in-service training courses to learn techniques for making their classrooms more active and child-centered. Mentorships help teachers as they put to practice their new skills.

  • School Builds and Renovations

    School and equipment are upgraded to make learning spaces more child-friendly, stimulating and safe. Anera builds new schools and renovates existing structures and installs bathrooms, easy-to-access water fountains, reading corners, and playgrounds with sun shades.

  • Let's Read

    Through Anera’s Hayya Naqra (Let’s Read) program, we instill a love of reading in children, teachers and parents. We provide quality materials and create special reading spaces in classrooms and community centers.

  • Expressive Arts

    Music, dance, drama, photography, fine art, storytelling and handicrafts are used to stimulate brain development and active learning.
  • Positive Parenting

    Anera's early childhood development program extends beyond the preschool. We train parents in positive parenting techniques and encourage them to get more involved in their child's education from an early age.

  • Child Health

    Anera's awareness sessions for families help increase their understanding of childhood nutrition, health and development. We also treat preschoolers for lice and parasites and deliver items like boots and shoes.

Anera’s early childhood development program provides 30,000+ Palestinian children with the right start in their schooling annually.