The Kindergarten at the Rosehips Center for Creative learning in Marpha Village provides an accessible child-centered early learning program for 18 young learners a year. As a community initiated project it represents a successful model for collaboration between families from different castes and socio-economic statuses, and creates a precedent for hands-on minds-on learning in rural Nepal.
For nearly a decade, the nursery program at the government school in Marpha has been understaffed, under-resourced and unhygienic. This has created an unofficial segregation in education along socio-economic and caste lines. More affluent families send their children out of the village for school, and challenges in local education become the exclusive problem of the marginalized and poor. But attitudes ARE changing; a new generation of parents is working to improve education from the ground up.
In March 2016, the Marpha Foundation, in collaboration with parents, opened an all-day Kindergarten. It has a child-centric and emergent curriculum that responds to the interests and specific needs of learners ages 2 to 5. Class activities integrate art, storytelling, games and mindfulness to develop school readiness skills like literacy, numeracy, group work and inquiry. Our flexible fee structure ensures accessibility, fosters family investment and contributes to a sustainable income strategy.
We have already started the process of extending the reach of the incredible learning that takes place at the Rosehips Kindergarten. Video tutorials, digital manuals and teacher training programs are currently being developed to share what we have designed and assessed regarding school-day flow, hygiene practices, curricular themes, activities and teaching tools. In this way, the kindergarten's impact on 18 learners per year in Marpha can be shared with students and educators across Nepal.