Jordan’s Queen Rania Visits Save the Children Early Childhood Development Programs

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Her Majesty Promotes Creating a Regional Middle East Strategy for Early Learning

A boy pretends to be a doctor with Queen Rania. Role-playing is an important part of a child’s learning and development. January 9, 2011. Photo Credit: Office of HRM Queen Rania

A boy pretends to be a doctor with Queen Rania. Role-playing is an important part of a child’s learning and development. January 9, 2011. Photo Credit: Office of HRM Queen Rania

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Eileen Burke
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WESTPORT, Conn. (January 19, 2011) — Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah visited Save the Children’s early childhood development program “Khatawat” or “Steps” on January 9 in Amman, as part of her continuous efforts to bring attention to the need for early learning opportunities for children in Jordan and the Middle East region.

“We are honored to have had Queen Rania as our guest at our Khatawat early childhood development program,” said Paulette Hassell, co-country director of Save the Children in Jordan. “Her Majesty is an extraordinary champion of early childhood development, and her advocacy for investing in children’s early years is critical for the success of these efforts.”

Hassell said, “Eighty-five percent of a child’s brain growth and development occurs by age 3. That is why access to early child care and development services matter. Research shows that comprehensive early childhood development programs — whether in informal home settings or in formal early childhood settings — are the key to school and life success.”

While at the Parent Child Center, Her Majesty Queen Rania joined a group of mothers for a story-writing workshop, where mothers were taught how to write stories that help children learn. Through the program, mothers are also shown how to make interactive learning tools for their children using recycled materials from home.

Later, Her Majesty joined in the fun at the center’s play area. Creative play is an important part of a young child’s learning and development.  In the play area, children ages 3 to 5 were painting, holding puppet shows and role-playing. The play area is a key component of the Parent Child Center model. While mothers are enjoying learning, children can interact with other children their age. The play area provides access to a protective, age-appropriate, interactive and child-friendly space.

Early Learning for Iraqi Refugee Children and Jordanian Children

Khatawat, launched in 2008, helps provide vulnerable Iraqi refugee children and Jordanian children with increased access to safe, child-centered learning environments at Parent Child Centers and kindergartens.  It is an initiative of Save the Children, the Jordanian Ministry of Education, the Jordanian Ministry of Social Development and community-based organizations. 

Mothers show Queen Rania some of the fun, colorful learning materials they made from recycled items in their home. January 9, 2011. Photo Credit: Office of HRM Queen Rania

Mothers show Queen Rania some of the fun, colorful learning materials they made from recycled items in their home. January 9, 2011. Photo Credit: Office of HRM Queen Rania

Since Khatawat began, more than 120 kindergarten teachers and Parent Child Center staff, and 750 mothers were trained in basic early childhood development techniques, including how to engage children as active learners.  In addition, a training hall at the Ministry of Education was renovated, 24 kindergarten classrooms were renovated and provided with learning materials and equipment, and an additional five Parent Child Centers were renovated, equipped and furnished.

Funding for the program, provided by the World Bank, will end in June 2011, at which time the government and community-based organizations will take over and continue with the Parent Child Center model that was developed as part of the Khatawat project.

Save the Children works closely with the Jordanian government and partners to design projects that meet national priorities. Close coordination in the early stages guarantees that local partners develop the skills needed to carry on the work after Save the Children’s role in the project and project funding has ended. In addition, Save the Children works closely with the government to take proven models to national scale.

Background on Save the Children’s Work in Jordan

Save the Children has been working in the Middle East since 1953 and in Jordan since 1985 and has a long history of initiating and sustaining effective development programs that benefit children and youth.

Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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