Young girl sweeping while behind her people work in a field.

Early learning gaps in Tanzania

There is a desperate need for foundational education provision in Tanzania. Many young children do not have access to nursery education and this affects their long term education outcomes. With incomplete education their potential employment, overall productivity and future success in life are severely impacted.

Poor families in Tanzania also lack a safe space for their young children to be cared for whilst they work. Parents need to work to survive and with no one to care for their children, young children can often be left at home alone whilst their parents work, taken with their parents to work, or are left in the care of older siblings, who also then miss out on their education.

To help address these problems, the Sisters of Mary opened the Kiluvya Nursery in 2021 alongside the Vocational Training Centre for out of school young women to support vulnerable youngsters and their young mothers with free childcare and early education.

Two children playing

Providing safe care and early education

At Kiluvya Nursery, children aged between three and five years old receive the vital early learning they need to succeed in life. They also have a safe space, a community of peers, the safety and freedom to play and learn, and very importantly, two full nutritious meals a day.

The qualified and passionate nursery teachers at the centre have created a vibrant and nurturing space where these most impoverished youngsters can begin to acquire the skills they need for the future. The nursery follows Montessori education model, encouraging free activity within a prepared environment. This approach encourages children to play and explore, develop their individual personalities, and reach their potential.

A nursery child in school uniform playing with a puzzle with thumbs up to the camera

The daily schedule

The children arrive at 8am and then go home at approximately 4.30pm at the end of each day. During that time, the Sisters and Montessori teachers help to address some of the children’s most basic needs like ensuring they have enough food, and the necessary medical attention they may need.

They ensure that the boys and girls have the chance to develop their communication and social skills, play with their new friends and learn to develop their literacy and numeracy abilities.

Meeting their basic needs

Every child receives two full meals a day as well as snacks to support their physical development and address early malnutrition. Every child also has their own toothbrush at school and they learn the importance of taking care of themselves and their health.

Mother stands holding her son's hand on a dirt road in Tanzania

Supporting young mothers

The nursery not only benefits the young children with a vital foundation for their education, but also provides a safe and nurturing place for them to be cared for whilst their mothers work to support them.

Free childcare is an invaluable resource for young mothers in Tanzania, many of whom are single parents, so that they can be independent and earn a living to support their family.

Kiluvya Training Centre

To support this initiative, attached to the nursery is the Kiluvya Training Centre, which provides training for the most disadvantaged young women who have dropped out of education.

Kiluvya Nursery