Reach up and Learn model is based on the Jamaica Home visiting program which has been studied for over four decades. According to longitudinal studies of the program in Jamaica, young adults who received the early childhood stimulation through the program demonstrated: better cognitive ability, better educational attainment, better psychological functioning, less violent behavior, and increased earnings.
Reach Up and Learn is a play-based home visiting model typically conducted weekly for up to two years, targeting children from six months to three and a half years of age. Home visits are conducted by para-professionals who are provided training and on-the-job coaching by mentors. Based on a detailed, but simple curriculum, home visitors guide mother and child in play activities using scaffolding techniques, and provide 3-4 activities each week from their rotating library of toys made from recycled and low-cost materials as well as contextualized picture books and puzzles. The trusting relationship of the home visitor and the mother, empowerment of the mother to play with and nurture her children, adjusting of each activity to the developmental ability of the child, and praise of both mother and child are some of the central tenants of the program.
To address the scale and severity of the current situation in the Syria response region, IRC has adapted Reach Up and Learn to the unique needs of Syrian refugee and host community parents. The nurturing and playful interactions between children and their caregivers prompted by the program could help mitigate the effects of adverse childhood experiences and support children to reach their developmental potential.
In December 2017, Sesame Workshop and the IRC were awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change grant to make real progress toward improving early childhood outcomes in humanitarian crises. With the extraordinary investment of $100 million, our partnership will transform the language, early reading, math, and social-emotional skills of a generation of children ages 0-8 affected by the Syrian war. This project, called Ahlan Simsim, will focus on children in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria over the next 5 years, combining the depth of in-person services (reaching 1.5 million children) with the breadth of mass media (reaching 9.4 million children).
Ahlan Simsim has a particular focus on inclusion of children with disabilities. Though Reach Up and Learn works well within the Syria response region generally, the model does not currently address inclusion. This consultancy will support the IRC’s ECD team, both the technical unit in New York and in coordination with the ECD Technical Lead for Ahlan Simsim, in developing adaptation guidance and specific techniques to engage children of all abilities, as listed below.
Background desk workObjectiveOutput
Review weekly and biweekly home visiting curriculum Develop supplemental guidance for home visitors on adjusting each category of activity to accommodate the specific needs of children birth to age three with visual disability, auditory disability, developmental delays, and other disabilities prevalent in the region. This should include specific techniques that service providers can use to cater to the individual needs of children and ensure they all have the same learning opportunities.
Curriculum guidance note
Review Training PackageDevelop training module on inclusion to be incorporated into home visitor training. This should include messaging promoting play and interaction for children with disabilities, and addressing stigma and myths that may prevent home visitors or caregivers from engaging with children with disabilities.Training module
Timeframe: start date ASAP, end date July 2019