Parents discuss the value of preprimary education:

Parents of preprimary-aged children discussed how preprimary class helps student get acclimated to the school setting. This exposure, along with the concrete literacy and numeracy skills they develop, is essential to ensuring students’ success in primary school. 

  • "Preprimary class helps build up an awareness of the school environment… [My child] also gets acquainted with his classmates. When he enters standard one he’ll have some experience in primary subjects."
    — Parent from Mwanza

  • "[In preprimary class], you take a child that did not understand anything and teach that child the meaning of school, step by step."
    — Teacher from Mwanza 

  • "Preprimary class is very important. Before children would start school at 8 to 9 years old, but they now start at a very young age. In order for children to like school, you need to find things that attract the child [at a young age]."
    — Parent from Mwanza 

  • “Children become educated, knowing many things including hygiene. When he/she goes to the toilet, for example, they wash their hands afterwards. Whenever they get dirty they clean up… I am very thankful to this class’s teacher. She nurtures them, and… we saw that our children returned home doing amazing things. We, the parents, were amazed at how the children can do these things because they are nurtured in this environment, and find fun and excitement at school.”
    — Parent from Kilimanjaro 

  • “Preprimary education is important because of these learning tools. You really show that everything can be [demonstrated with tools]. When the pupil leaves, he/she can even draw and if they can draw, they can write.”
    — Parent from Kilimanjaro 

  • “Before, preprimary pupils didn’t know how to read and write when they enrolled for standard two and three. But now when they enrolls for standard one from preprimary, [they are prepared].”  
    Parent from Mwanza

Does the community value pre-primary education? 

Parents reported that their communities have placed more importance on preprimary education over the past few years. Parents have also felt pressure from their community and government to enroll their preprimary-aged children in school. 

  • “Parents value [preprimary school] because when you look back in previous years, the children who were enrolled in preprimary education were very few. But now the children who are enrolled are many. It has reached a point where you want to enroll a child but there is no more space - that shows how parents value education.” – Parent from Moshi
  • “Most of the community members take preprimary education seriously… because of the pressure from the government which enforces the implementation of the policy that every child must be sent to school.” – Parent from Moshi
  • “Community members like… to send their children to preprimary to get rid of illiteracy when they are still young, and to be [prepared] when they enroll for standard one.” Parent from Mwanza
  • “When a child attends school he/she is able to teach other children in the streets what they are learning in school, such as games, singing and even discipline. So [our community] thinks that it is very important.” – Parent from Mwanza

What are challenges to establishing a preprimary parent partnership (PPP)? 

Parents reported that most people understand the value of preprimary education and want to have well-resourced preprimary classes in their community. However, they noted that parents face many barriers to establishing a successful PPP, and donating food and materials to the school. Parents also noted that more instruction on the purpose of PPPs, along with more communication between parents and the school, is required in order for PPPs to be functional.

  • Parents from Mwanza emphasize that a poor crop season prevents them from donating food to the preprimary class: 

    • “The weakness [of the PPP] is due to the bad climatic condition [this year].” 

    • “This is not a good year because most people don’t have enough food, so this is the weakness.” 

    • “The climatic condition results in low income this year.” 

    • “The hardest activity is the contribution for porridge. In March we made some contributions, and in February we had a meeting. Now children are no longer drinking porridge because we parents haven’t finished our contribution.”

    • “The hardest activity has been the contribution for the children’s porridge because the food condition this year is not good. We have to look for food for the family, then for contribution for porridge. We contribute, but slowly.” 

  • “Yes, we are participating [in the PPP], and if we don’t participate they file a letter to the office. The village leadership follow up and make you come and participate.”
    — Parent from Moshi 

  • “As a teacher you need to [focus on the] students first, and then pay attention to parents… Some parents are very stubborn, so you might want to create a committee to invite them [to participate]. Some will come and some won’t.”
    — Parent from Moshi

  • “When I began, I did not know how they started those partnerships in the past.”
    — Parent from Mwanza

  • "What is needed is first the teachers should call a meeting between them and parents with children in preprimary so we come here and plan. We can even apply for a loan."
    — Parent from Mwanza

  • "Parents should be educated on partnerships before starting. You cannot just begin directly without being educated." 
    — Parent from Mwanza