Early Childhood Development

Disadvantaged Childhoods

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

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 care is needed to give children a healthy start.

Holistic Early Childhood Development in Palestine Preschools

Anera is leading the way for early childhood development in Palestine with the Right Start program. We are developing a national early childhood development strategy by investing in improving preschools, training teachers, producing resources and working with the Ministry of Education and others to address larger issues.

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 has built or renovated 10% of the existing preschools in Palestine.

In Gaza, the program has reached 60 preschools and 30 community-based organizations. In the West Bank, it focuses on ‘pilot’ preschools that are serving as models for a national network of modern, high quality preschools. Anera has also updated preschools in four of the twelve 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 Renovations

    School and equipment are upgraded to make learning spaces more child-friendly, stimulating and safe. Anera installs clean 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 has delivered reading packs to more than 20,000 children in Palestine.


In 2019 Anera built six new preschools in the northern West Bank. These schools, like the others Anera has built or renovated, are located in rural and economically disadvantaged communities, where access and availability are particularly limited.