1. Early Childhood Education for the 21st Century: Training Programs and Curricula Building for governments, educational organizations, schools and communities
Focus on the 6 Cs – Creativity, Curiosity, Caring, Coordination, Communication, Coping with Change

The 21st century is characterized with major technological and social advances that are happening at a rapid pace (smartphones, social networks, globalization) and which require flexibility, the resilience needed to cope with uncertainty and risk, and the ability to take on social responsibility for the world in which we live.

In order for the curriculum to be relevant to the needs of children in this century, appropriate skills must be developed. Frontal teaching and the belief that the teacher has the knowledge to impart to the child while the child is a passive learner is no longer relevant in the classroom. We need to provide children with an environment where they can be creative, curious and independent, empathetic and sensitive, and where they can be innovative leaders and entrepreneurs. The following are the 6 core skills that are needed in the 21st century:

Communication and Collaboration – Communication and collaboration skills are extremely important in modern life. The way children learn to communicate with others and work in a team and collaborate, helps them build relationships and integrate into their community and society. Communication allows for a child to express him/herself and to understand others and is crucial for children to be able to interact in the world.

Caring and empathy – Caring and empathy are central skills that are needed in order to create well-being in a society. Empathy is the ability to recognize and understand emotions (especially feelings of distress) of others and be able to adopt their point of view. Caring for the collective, the society in which we live in, as well as developing individual aspects of caring and empathy in every child leads to a community where people take care of each other. Along with empathy and caring is the importance of acquiring emotional intelligence which is the ability of the child to identify, assess and manage his own emotions and the emotions of others.

Creativity – Creativity has become an essential part of the early childhood education curriculum, especially as children develop and grow up in the 21st century where creativity is essential in order to succeed. In this modern world, it’s also important to develop critical thinking skills which are based on creativity.

Curiosity – Children have natural curiosity. In early childhood, curiosity is their driving force to discover the world, absorb their surroundings and learn all they are able to. It is important to build an educational system that nurtures and preserves the instinct of natural curiosity within children and which motivates children to learn and develop.

Coping with change – Knowing how to cope with change and being resilient is a very important skill in this modern world. As change is constantly happening, we must nurture in children the ability to remain emotionally stable in the face of complex and uncertain realities.

Coordination and Physical skills – Young children are working hard developing their coordination and their gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills include such things as running, jumping, hopping, turning, skipping, throwing, balancing, and dancing, and involve the use of large bodily movements. Fine motor skills, which include drawing, writing, cutting, piecing together, tying, involve the use of small bodily movements. Both gross and fine motor skills develop and are refined during early childhood.

2. Health Education and Behavior Change in Young Children: health education programs which train educators and community leaders on the most effective ways to teach young children about health education and prevention of disease. Focussing on the youngest children in school systems will affect behavioral change within the classroom, the school and the community leading to sustainable change on healthy habits and behaviors and building healthier communities.
Considering the importance of health education among young children and knowing that behavioral change in early childhood will lead to changing behaviors within families and communities, this program integrates the importance of early childhood education and appropriate training materials for trainers participating in the school health education programs.

– new program for COVID-19 (see attached explanation)

3. Early Childhood Education and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR): Program Assistance and Resources in early childhood disaster risk reduction, addressing young children’s needs after disasters and building resilience. Programs in strengthening social-emotional development in order to help build resilience and respond to changing situations. Furthermore, programs that are developed for kindergartens and preschools for disaster risk reduction, such as teaching manuals and activities teachers can do in school to prepare young children in case of disasters.

Young children have specific needs which can be addressed in disaster risk reduction processes and activities. Resilience building among young children, is an important DRR factor for young children and children in emergency situations benefit from being informed and involved in their community. Children can also learn important behaviors and what to do if a disaster occur. Finally, ESI can help build children friendly spaces for communities, specifically tailored to young children and their needs.

4. Training Program for Women’s livelihoods: Training Women in Early Childhood Education and Social Entrepreneurship, improving women’s livelihoods and improving the quality of daycare centers in the community.

Relevant training programs developed for women in early childhood education will improve the quality of the daycare centers, allowing children to better develop basic skills from ages 0-3 and skills for the 21st century for 3-6-year-olds. Including training on social entrepreneurship will enable women to improve their livelihoods and status in their communities, have increased feelings of fulfillment and meaningfulness, and create increased income for herself and her family.

This program focusses on women receiving training and support in early childhood education and entrepreneurship and the skills to run their own daycare centers, and then implementing quality early childhood education and care to encourage the development of 21st century skills among young children. Children in these daycares participate fully in a space that encourages their holistic development. Furthermore, women participating in the training establish daycare centers that are social businesses providing themselves with additional income, increasing their socio-economic status as well as their families’, and becoming leaders of change in their communities, all the while feeling a sense of fulfillment and meaning.

5. Online courses on innovative and creative methodologies: courses that guide teachers on how to implement new ways of teaching for young children . all of our programs are now being adapted into online programs, training trainers online allowing for capacity building and knowledge exchange to happen on different online platforms. ESI is developing new interactive online activities, videos, and programs for early childhood educators and caregivers. We have also created some programs for radio and TV. We are no in the midst of developing an app for teaching health behaviors to young children, that can be used specifically for the prevention of COVID-19, but which will be applicable to more general health behavior education.