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Countries Collaborate for Kids: Project Links Traverse City, Michigan to Liberia, Africa

October 27, 2009

LIBERIA, Africa November 5–9, 2009 – This month, a revolutionary pilot program intended to enhance education and literacy for children from birth to 8 years-of-age in the war-torn capital city of Monrovia Liberia, located in Western Africa, will officially launch.

The program started when Mother Goose Time, a U.S.-based company that provides preschool curriculum in monthly themed kits aimed at nurturing children’s emotional, physical and intellectual growth, began donating thousands of educational kits to Youth Action International. YAI is an international nonprofit organization working to rebuild African communities by focusing on the wellbeing and development of children. The group sought out the innovative Traverse City, Mich.-based curriculum provider as a first start in improving Liberia’s early education program.

 “Initially, we expect to train and mobilize 200 teachers who will in turn, educate over 8,000 students,” said Leslie Falconer, CEO of Mother Goose Time. Once the pilot is successful, our intent is to capacitate all of the teachers in Liberia and begin transferring what we have learned to other countries with children in need.”

 Though education was declared free and compulsory in the country in 2007, there is a short supply of trained teachers. The pilot project helps solve the pressing need quickly by setting up peer-to-peer training and support among Liberian teachers by helping them form what’s being called Teaching Circles. Twenty Circles will be organized by geographic proximity, and each will be represented by a Community Guide responsible for attending monthly training sessions, and then returning to educate others in their Circle.

 “Teaching Circles are unique because they focus on creating classroom environments that are conducive to teaching and learning while peer-to-peer training allows teachers to share experiences, techniques and resources,” said Kimmie Weeks, Executive Director of YAI (youthactioninternational.org).

 “A few years ago 10 year olds were fighting in our civil war, what will the young children today be doing when they turn 10? This program addresses the reality of post-war countries. By increasing the education of young children, the likelihood that these children will be easily enlisted in future rebellion is decreased.”

 The official launch of the program is slated for November 5-9. Invited dignitaries include Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson President of Liberia, and the first democratically elected female head of state in Africa.

  A typical pre-primary Liberian classroom before participation in the pilot. 

 A group of children in one school registered to participate in the pilot.

 Leslie Falconer with a group of children from a participating school.

Headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan, Mother Goose Time (mothergoosetime.com) has been developing early childhood education curriculum for more than 25 years.
For more information call: 800-523-6933 or visit www.mothergoosetime.com