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Clencia, a young girl from a small village in Mozambique had her very first preschool class under the shade of a mango tree.
Under that tree and later in a preschool classroom, Clencia learned how to draw using pencil and paper, an important step to writing. She also learned how to sing and dance. While attending preschool, Clencia quickly made friends, gained confidence and overcame her shyness towards other children and adults.
It was 2008, and Clencia was just five years old when Save the Children reached her remote community and introduced early childhood development programs to hundreds of children from ages 3 to 5. In Clencia's native Mozambique, only 4% of young children go to preschool, leaving many without the skills they need to succeed in elementary school.
Today, you can see how an early start on learning has made a difference in Clencia's life. As one of the first graduates of Save the Children's early education program in Mozambique, she is now a vibrant third-grader, always surrounded by friends.
Her third-grade teacher, Ana Paula, says that "while Clencia excels in all disciplines, her problem- solving skills in math are enviable. She is totally at ease and shows interest by asking questions."
She adds that Clencia, like others who attended pre-school, is "quick to grasp new concepts and easy to teach." She notices Clencia's leadership skills, observing how she, along with others like her, "motivates her peers by leading them in songs and games they learned in preschool."Clencia's mother, Ligia, also notices the positive changes in her daughter. She says, "Save the Children's early learning program awakened my child's intelligence". This remark goes to the heart and soul of a program that can have lasting change on children's lives — even if it has to happen in the humblest of places, a patch of shade under a mango tree.
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