In the Cordoba province of Argentina, Perkins has been helping parents and communities understand their children’s rights, especially those at the earliest stages of life. Up until now, parents have had little knowledge of how to advocate for their child’s right to learn.
To help bridge this gap, Perkins began working with six early education centers throughout Cordoba, including the Dr. Jorge Alvarez Center.
Since its beginning, the Dr. Jorge Alvarez Center has committed to protecting children’s rights. They firmly believe that the early years form the foundation of a child’s future. Each child is seen as a unique person, and they strive to provide a nurturing, diverse, and respectful environment to support their growth.
The shared mission of believing every child can and deserves to learn established a strong collaboration between Perkins and the center. Under Perkins’ guidance, the staff at the center has strengthened its daily practices, ensuring that every child has equal opportunities to learn, narrowing any gaps of inequality.
When a community has access to the resources it needs to support its families, they unlock the power to transform future generations. With coaching from Perkins staff, the center has started regularly organizing workshops and training sessions for families from the community.
Some of the center’s team also have taken over 120 hours of a Perkins International Academy course in early childhood care and education —made available through a collaboration with the Catholic University of Cordoba.
On top of gaining access to crucial resources, communication between the staff and families is key in supporting children with disabilities on their learning journey. Regular meetings allow each family to better understand their role in their child’s life and provide a safe space to share their unique experiences and concerns. When all parties collaborate with respect, parents can become empowered to advocate for their children’s rights in other settings.
In July 2023, Samuel celebrated his second birthday at the Dr. Jorge Alvarez Center. Samuel’s family is well-known within the community since his older brother had attended the center before Perkins’ arrival. When Samuel first started at the center, he faced mobility challenges and couldn’t take a step on his own.
After speaking with Samuel’s mother, the team learned that Samuel cried a lot and refused to wear shoes. The team knew Samuel’s family would need support while they completed the necessary medical assessments. With sensitivity, the team could provide some much-needed relief to Samuel’s mother, who would have to navigate the complex landscape of medical consultations and an eventual diagnosis.
Over time, Samuel’s mobility improved. Daily encouragement from the staff and the presence of his family helped Samuel take his first steps. First, with some hand-holding and eventually on his own.
His resilience shone through every fall as he determinedly picked himself up. Then, he learned to pivot and grasp different objects to regain his balance. Though he has yet to speak, Samuel can communicate with gestures, a few words, and the occasional cry when something displeases him.
By infusing the concept of Learning Through Play, Perkins transformed the center’s approach to education.
Mariana Chaile, Perkins Education Coordinator, works with the center, guiding the staff in incorporating fun activities into the children’s daily routine, like painting and playing games. Story time unlocked many learning opportunities for Samuel, allowing him to not only recognize shapes, colors, and characters but also encourage a growing love for books.
Now, Samuel loves to touch the characters in the books and will playfully signal to his teacher to make funny sounds. For Mariana, games are essential at this phase of a child’s development.
Stories like Samuel’s are the reason why we continue to do this work. Educational practices must echo the values of inclusivity and fairness. Perkins and its partners’ goal is to ensure that all students can access learning, rising above any barriers they may encounter.
Together with Perkins, this Early Childhood Center in Argentina is committed to fostering an environment where children can define their success. We are working to broaden families, healthcare professionals, and educators’ comprehension of childhood, promoting inclusivity and acknowledging the diverse ways children experience their formative years. We believe children’s rights in Argentina should be protected. Every child deserves equal opportunities to learn, regardless of their circumstances.
If you believe every child deserves an opportunity to learn, support our work today.