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Unlocking big change on pre-primary education in Kenya

A plan of action for civil society advocates

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In 2006, the Kenyan Government laid out its vision for preprimary education in a new, ground-breaking policy.

The early years, as the policy highlighted, is a critical window of opportunity for young learners. Recent advances in neuroscience have evidenced that 90% of a child’s brain development occurs before the age of five. As the Government highlighted, parents, caregivers, and teachers need to make use of this period to maximise children’s holistic development. Environmental influences, especially care, nurture and stimulation, have the greatest impact on life.

Children who attend early childhood education are twice as likely to show progress in early literacy and numeracy. It promotes the development of language acquisition, motor and cognitive development, and social and emotional skills. This has a knock-on effect throughout a child’s educational journey. Children are more likely to start primary school at the right age, progress through the system, learn and develop competencies needed to succeed in life. It reduces the risk of children either dropping out of primary school or repeating a grade. Children who attend are more likely to complete primary school (UNICEF 2019).

This briefing sets out how local civil society advocates can influence change on pre-primary education in Kenya. It explores how advocates can engage with regional planning and budgeting processes to ensure increased focus and investment for the early years.