Early childhood learning is crucial to later educational attainment, but in many rural areas the Guatemalan government does not provide preschool. Children there enter primary school ill-prepared and run a high risk of early failure: while nearly 60% of Guatemalan kids fail to complete primary school, the rate for rural indigenous children, whose first language may not be Spanish, is even higher. At least 30% fail the first grade, when many drop out, severely limiting their future opportunities.
This project helps overcome geographic isolation and lack of educational resources by delivering audio programs in indigenous languages. Low-tech, low-cost and culturally sensitive, it trains and pays literate community youth to lead children in fun, interactive group learning sessions and activities.
Providing programs to underserved indigenous areas will help stem the tide of failure in primary school by preparing children to learn. Training community youth to be program facilitators will create jobs for them and raise awareness of early childhood learning among parents. Longer term, early learning can have a significant positive impact on children's future opportunities and livelihoods as adults. Aula Magica plans to roll out the program in 10 communities over the next 2 years.
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