March 26, 2018
Written by RTI International
This post originally appeared on Medium.
Imagine two different six-year-olds arriving at school for their first day of first grade.
For one child, the routine is familiar. Last year she attended kindergarten classes with fellow enthusiastic students, spending structured time outlining Arabic numerals and characters, singing, crafting, and reading stories. She has experienced life in a classroom, developed skills, and is ready to take the next steps in learning that first grade will offer her.
For the second child, this is not just her first day of first grade, but her first day inside any kind of classroom. She does not have the experience and skills that her new peers gained in kindergarten, but she is expected to be ready to hold a pencil and learn just the same.
Students who enter first grade like the second child, without any taste of kindergarten, start their schooling at an instant disadvantage. For too many children in Jordan, this is their reality.
USAID’s Early Grade Reading and Mathematics Project (RAMP) is helping to close the gap. The program launched a two-week kindergarten initiative, the School Readiness Program, to help prepare children who do not have the opportunity to attend kindergarten for their first year of primary school. The program spans the Jerash, Zarqa, and Mafraq governorates — including two Syrian refugee camps — covering 29 schools and reaching 1,200 students. RAMP expects that students who complete the program will be familiar with spending time in a classroom and equipped to transition successfully into first grade.
Thumbnail image description: A student in Zarqa is excited to receive his new activity book!
Thumbnail image credit: RTI International/Julianne Norman