Location: Thessaloniki, Greece
Most shelters for refugees in Greece hold ‘children friendly spaces’, however there is often a shortage of skilled trained staff to operate them, leaving them underutilized. Furthermore, while children above age six regularly go to school, younger children remain in shelters without a structured educational program they can attend.
Early Starters International in cooperation with IsraAID provided professional training for women in a refugee center called Philoxenia, on early childhood education. Through mobilizing the community and working with mothers living in the refugee shelters, we were able to create a stimulating environment and learning space for young children. The training program consisted of 4 week long intensive sessions over the course of three months by Arabic speaking early childhood development experts in topics such as Principles of Early Childhood Education, Emotional and Social development of Young Children, Cognitive Development and the Importance of Play. The space for children at the Philoxenia shelter is still being run by the women and mothers who finished the training.