Photo by Blanca Lomeli

Access to pre-primary education is low in Tanzania, especially in rural communities. As a result, many children enter primary school poorly prepared to learn and reach their full potential. To tackle this issue, PCI carried out a pilot project that provided caregivers of children 3 to 5 years of age with new knowledge, skills and inspiration to promote early learning at home. PCI formed a total of 12 First Teacher Groups (FTGs) in 6 villages of the Bunda District, benefiting 135 parents and more than 155 children.

"A free program has opened me up to new ways of thinking. If this continues, parents will change as I have changed."
- Godliva Jilabi, First Teacher Group participant

Trained community volunteers met with FTGs on a weekly basis to facilitate interactive learning and play sessions between the participants. Parents learned how to embody the role of "first teacher" and engage their children in more interactive, responsive and loving ways. Over the next year, PCI will scale up the FTG model in 34 new villages with inputs and engagement from district council officials and rural development authorities. Lessons learned from this pilot phase will be shared with the government and used to refine the model and delivery strategies.