Pre-School Education

•    In 2012,only 23 % of urban children and 8 % of rural children had access to pre-school education facilities in Azerbaijan
•    Nationwide only 17 % of communities have kindergartens available within acceptable distance
•    Ratio of kindergartens:children in 2012 is 1:600, following a teacher-centered model

UAFA piloted an alternative, low-cost model of pre-school education to meet the needs of children excluded from the kindergarten system because of poverty, rural location and disability.  This pilot was funded by the EU from 2012-2014.  After external evaluation by the Ministry of Education, further funding was approved to continue supporting 17 pre-schools established in 4 regions.

Child-centered models are more suited to the changing economic environment in Azerbaijan, because they encourage self-motivation, communication and active learning.  The model is as follows:

•    1 kindergarten methodologist supervises 4 pre-school groups in local villages
•    Methodologist given training in child-centered methodologies and hub management
•    Methodologist visits each pre-school once per week to monitor activities and give feedback

Pre-school groups
•    Children aged 2-6 years attend group for 4 hours/week by age group; centres are open every day
•    Children with disabilities are included to the groups
•    Parents learn new parenting skills, and are encouraged to participate in the groups to support learning
•    Modern methods of early childhood development used – strong emphasis on learning through play
•    Children in Azerbaijan are given a head start to become productive members of the society