Local Visionaries Enhance Early Learning in Vanuatu

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Little Lights Preschool, part of the Vanuatu Preschool Project (VPP) and founded by former locals and ex-pats Rachel Malas and Hannah Tomkins, has found a new home! After moving from Mele in December 2022, the preschool relocated to Prima Field, Vanuatu in January 2023. The move was made possible through the generosity of a local woman who previously ran a French preschool on the site.

“She was more than happy for us to use the space for our preschool. We are so thankful that we could move to a place that was already set up for the children,” Rachel said.

With 40 children aged two to five years currently enrolled, the preschool is a vital resource for the community.

“We love to teach the children here and see their joy to come to preschool and learn. It’s incredibly special to be part of that journey from when the kids are young to when they are ready to start school. We love seeing the children grow and become more confident,” said Rachel. “We have amazing teachers that have a heart for teaching. The teachers are eager to develop their knowledge and understanding of children’s development”

Since the move to Prima Field, the preschool has made significant strides. Rachel and her colleague Hannah have continued to train teachers and are working on developing a comprehensive teacher training programme. Teachers Magdeline and Naume have completed their training and are now mentoring new teachers Lilly and Sherly. Magdeline is also involved with the local government education department, spreading awareness about children’s development to families.

Looking ahead, VPP has ambitious plans. “We aim to complete our teacher training programme and have it certified so it can be used as a resource across Vanuatu. We also want all our teachers to complete our Early Years Teacher Training Programme and for them to train other teachers,” Rachel said. Additionally, the preschool plans to build a playground and hopes to eventually secure its own land under the Vanuatu Preschool Project.

“There are several ways the local community can support VPP. These include sponsoring a child’s school fee, donations of milk powder, children’s vitamins, Weet-Bix, preschool resources, and fundraising for our preschool. We also welcome help with financial needs such as rent for the preschool, teacher support, and outdoor building projects,” Rachel explained.

For more information or to support Little Lights Preschool, contact: vanuatupreschoolproject@gmail.com; or Facebook Page: Vanuatu Preschool Project.

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