In Kyrgyzstan, farming is primarily based on moving livestock between pastures, so many families live a nomadic lifestyle, moving to high mountain pastures, or jailoo, for four or five months each year, away from towns or cities. The Aga Khan Foundation found that this lifestyle put children of these families at a disadvantage compared to those in towns in terms of education, as they are unable to attend the government-run school preparation program. Seeing these gaps in education development after vacation, the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme of Kyrgyzstan (MSDSP KG), a local entity of the Aga Khan Foundation, initiated the jailoo kindergarten project to reduce these gaps by bringing the schools to the jailoo. This model has been replicated by the Internatinoal Foundation "Initiatives of R. Otunbaeva."These mobile kindergartens are set up in yurts, or tent-like structures, on the jailoo and provide educational and developmental opportunities to children while taking Kyrgyzstan’s culture and traditions into account.
Since 2006, 100 jailoo kindergartens have been established across four districts, with children ranging from age 2 to age 10 enrolled each season. Each yurt includes learning materials, a portable latrine, and a mini-library, which provide a stimulating space at a low cost. The curriculum combines the government curriculum with cultural and environmental themes, learning about traditional crafts and tools and exploring the pastures. Both experienced and non-experienced teachers receive training on child-centered teaching methods and on strategies that are particular to the jailoo curriculum.Establishing a culturally relevant kindergarten that ensures children who move to pastures have access to same educational and developmental opportunities
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CEI approaches in actionDeliveryMobile schools/centersEarly Childhood DevelopmentHealth/NutritionEthics & Values/ReligionLocal language/Mother tongue languageSports
Model details2006Math/numeracyLiteracyArt & MusicHealth/NutritionEthics & Values/ReligionLocal language/Mother tongue languageSportsActiveHousehold funds44%56%
All the children on the jailoo are accepted to the kindergarten. Vulnerable and/or poor families are exempt from paying the parents' fee, based on a decision by the parents' committee. The families that have difficulty paying a cash fee can pay with in-kind contributions, such as the dairy products they produce. The teachers may consume or sell those products.
Scale21100Yurts with inside set of carpets and seating blankets; outside latrines; sets of toys and learning materials distributedAugust, 2014
The model has been replicated by Kyrgyz Republic's former president Roza Otunbayeva's "Initiatives of Otunbayeva" across the country. The number of jailoo kindergartens has reached about 50. Pasture committees are involved in the expansion of the model to other pastures.
Monitoring & EvaluationYesInternal assessment performanceUser satisfactionStudent attendanceCost effectiveness/value for moneyNo
Test scores have revealed that, for the 65 children tested for the study, there is an increase of 12.4% from before they started to attend jailoo kindergarten to after.
Many parents view the jailoo kindergartens positively, citing various reasons: Children are able to develop communication skills; teachers are better at teaching than parents; and children become more independent. A number of respondents expressed that they would like full-day kindergartens, instead of half-day.
Enrollment in jailoo kindergartens is more correlated to the student's age than to gender. Children aged 6 to 7 are the highest-enrolled child demographic. Parents have expressed that their 3-year-olds are too young to attend kindergartens and that older children usually do not attend as parents rely on them to conduct duties and chores.