Mother Child Education Program (MOCEP) began in Turkey in 1993 for young children from low socio-economic backgrounds who do not have access to quality preschool education. Based on the premise that the earliest years are the most formative for a child's rapid cognitive, social, emotional and motor skill development, MOCEP is an intervention aimed at children from underprivileged backgrounds who have been exposed to risk factors, such as poverty, political and armed tension and parents with low education levels. MOCEP is cognizant of the fact that the early developmental needs of children must be met and supported by their immediate environment and parents play an important role as "first educators".
MOCEP, the flagship program of ACEV (Mother Child Foundation), is a 25-week long low-cost home-based program for mothers whose children do not have access to pre-school education services. The program targets both mother and child in a two-step process.
- Mother Support Group: Each week, a group of up to 25 mothers meet for 2- 3 hours during which they are provided with the knowledge and skills necessary for child development and training. The classes are taught in discussion format where an ACEV trained trainer (also called group leader) facilitates the learning. The trainers then begin conducting the courses with a mother group over a period of 25 weeks. In addition to the weekly group sessions, trainers also conduct individual home visits. Trainers are also responsible for recruitment of mothers in their communities, liaising with local NGO's and authorities. ACEV master trainers and experts continue to provide trainers with effective and systematic in-the-field support and supervision to maintain quality and consistency.
- Mother Teaching Child: Each mother receives a 10-20 page booklet each week for the duration of the 25 weeks, containing exercises that the mother conducts at home with the child. These exercises support the cognitive and fine motor skills of the child.
The program targets both the mother and the child with educational outcomes aimed at both groups. It enriches children cognitively in order to boost school readiness and optimal pyscho-social development, and trains mothers, creating sustainable nurturing and healthy home environments. Although the target group is the mother and her young child, indirect beneficiaries include other siblings and spouses who benefit from the enriched home environment and positive communication skills of the mother.
Studies have found that with MOCEP children are better prepared for school, show lower drop-out rates and consequent success in education resulting in better life chances than their peers. Empowering mothers has ensured that the environment of the child is permanently altered with the potential to promote self-sustaining changes and growth. Impact has also been proven on mothers as they report better relations with children and spouses as a result of positive parenting, improved communication skills and self-esteem. At the macro policy level significant impact has also been demonstrated; since 1993 the program has been implemented in partnership with the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) in order to maximize on available resources (staff and Adult Education Centers). This partnership has today been institutionalized, where the importance of Early Childhood Education (ECE), encompassing both formal center based preschools and home-based early enrichment models, have been recognized as a policy priority by the Turkish state, impacting the lives of millions of children.Non-traditional program design that combines institutional settings for mothers who gather together in public education facilities together with home visits by trainers and home-schooling for children in the form of cognitive worksheets.
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CEI approaches in actionStudent supportTransitional supportParental/community engagement in support of studentsPolicy & AnalysisEarly Childhood DevelopmentComprehensive curriculumHealth/Nutrition
Model details1993Not-for-profitOtherEarly Childhood Education and DevelopmentComprehensive curriculumHealth/NutritionActiveLong-term project100%
MOCEP is an inclusive program as it targets children most at risk of being excluded from receiving quality early childhood services and attempts to bridge gaps to ensure “A Fair Start”. MOCEP has targeted low-income mothers and children deprived of quality social services, hence at risk of exclusion. Back in 1993, almost 90% of Turkish population was excluded from pre-primary educational services. Today, as a result of ACEV’s advocacy, awareness-raising efforts and collaboration with MoNE the figure is 50% for the 4-6 age group. As state ownership of ECE expands, ACEV strives to ensure quality standards and to address the needs of diverse beneficiary groups by developing new educational models derived from MOCEP. To date, MOCEP has served as an effective and low-cost investment model (15 USD per individual) as it uses and strengthens available resources such as MoNE facilities and teachers.
The scaling-up process, has increased the program’s geographical diversity too having been implemented in over 90% of provinces. Moreover MOCEP’s implementation in Europe with immigrant groups has promoted inclusion into social infrastructure not only for children but also for the mothers, often isolated in foreign countries. ACEV continues to expand on MOCEP model to address different learning contexts and to reach out to communities still cut off from either public or home-based ECE services, such as in rural communities. A new program based on MOCEP curricula and training was specifically tailored to be contextually relevant to the challenges facing mothers in the rural areas - examples used in booklets are relevant to the rural setting. ACEV has also been working to expand MOCEP's content's reach across every household in Turkey through the use of different mediums such as the TV, internet, and mobile phones by producing and maintaining distance-education programs and platforms.
Scale1,100ACEV trained trainers 900Currently part of the ACEV-Ministry of National Education Adult Literacy Program
The origins of MOCEP lie in a research project conducted in 1982-86 with subsequent pilot implementations in Istanbul and Ankara reaching only hundreds of individuals. In 1993, the Mother Child Education Foundation (ACEV) was established with a mission to scale up the program. ACEV’s negotiations with Ministry of National Education and World Bank resulted in a loan in 1995 to expand MOCEP across Turkey. To date, MOCEP has trained over 1000 adult education teachers and reached out to over 400,000 mothers and children in 76 (out of 81) provinces. MOCEP trainings with mothers are held primarily in the Adult Education Centers widely distributed across all towns in Turkey.
MOCEP has proven scalable and enjoyed the confidence of both international and national investment while maintaining program quality and sustained effects on beneficiaries. Mainstreaming of MOCEP through MoNE's newly developed national "0-18 Family Training Program" will mean that the program with go further as it will become available not only in Adult Education Centers but also in primary schools and Public Community Centers of the Directorate of Social Services and Child Protection. MOCEP has also generated interest overseas, where through local partnerships it has reached over 5000 mothers and children across Europe and the Middle East. The program has proven to be very effective in Europe (France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland) with primarily Turkish migrant groups whose children often suffer from the risk of poor performance in schools and women are not integrated into society. MOCEP has been found to meet the needs of parents and children in the Arab region as well. The program has now been running for nearly ten years in Bahrain. Trainings have also been provided to groups in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. In 2010, MOCEP was piloted with 100 mothers in Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon. It has also been translated into Spanish for a scientific experiment by University of Mexico.
In addition to program itself going to scale, MOCEP inspired the development and launch of the 7 is Too Late advocacy campaign that was carried out by ACEV to increase public awareness of the importance of ECE and influence education policy priorities to allow for the expansion of publicly provided pre-school education programs in Turkey. The campaign resulted in major policy changes where preschool education for the 4-6 age group in Turkey increased by 107% in 5 years (16% to 39%) and in 2009 MoNE made preschool education compulsory in 32 pilot provinces with a commitment for universal preschool education in the next decade.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
MOCEP embodies monitoring and evaluation as a core element and ACEV provides supervisory support to all of its program trainers. The purpose of this supervisory support is to enrich the trainers group management skills and monitor program fidelity. Each group leader receives at least one supervision session throughout the course of the program. Regular trainer review sessions are held to monitor quality and share field experiences and encourage peer learning. Trainers are also provided with evaluation forms for self-monitoring and evaluation. Outcomes of field supervision visits, review sessions and evaluation forms are reported periodically to MoNE. In all MOCEP field implementations process related data is also systematically gathered (participant profile forms, attendance sheets, course evaluation forms –from both teachers and participants-, cognitive exercise sheets filled in by the children, as well as home visit feedback forms by the trainers). This data serves to measure progress of trainers, effectiveness in reaching out to target groups and delivering MOCEP goals, both in terms of content and methodology. All ACEV program activities are also regularly evaluated by external researchers through both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The results of these studies are published on our website. ACEV has also been the subject of over 10 research projects, many of which have been referenced in international journals and publications. MOCEP has been evaluated externally between 1995-1997 and published in “A Fair Chance” (1998) and again in 2005 by Selcuk University. Assessment of MOCEP implementation in five countries, including Turkey, was conducted between 2008-2010 and published as “Mothers Reporting: Mother-Child Education Program in Five Countries” (2010). These processes have fed the ongoing enhancement of MOCEP and generated new programs e.g Father Support Program.
User satisfactionGraduation or promotion ratesStudent attendanceYes
Research studies conducted over 22 years have provided evidence on MOCEP’s impact. MOCEP participating mothers and their children were followed up 7 and 19 years later. Both research showed that parent-focused intervention had numerous sustained effects in terms of school attainment, higher primary school grades, vocabulary scores and more favorable attribute towards the school while most effects of center-based intervention had dissipated. The second follow-up found that mother-trained children had almost 1.5 years more schooling and were more likely to attend university.
In 2009, another study that had followed children from the original research project in 1983 into young adulthood was published, further demonstrating the long-term impact of the program. The children of participating mothers achieved higher scores in intelligence and general aptitude tests; were more successful academically; continued their schooling for a longer period of time; developed a more positive self-concept; and in adult lives worked at higher-status jobs and obtained higher salaries. The participating mothers were more aware of child’s needs and how to support them; communicated better with their children and husbands; experienced increased self-confidence regarding their parenting skills; refrained from negative disciplining methods; were more interested in child’s schooling and made more effort for school success; made better use of services in the community.
The 2010 study was conducted to qualitatively assess the impact of the program through mothers’ self-reports in Turkey, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Switzerland. The strengths of MOCEP stated most commonly by mothers was its trustworthiness (because of available research on program, documentation provided to mothers and ACEV’s own reputation); the positive change it created in them, and in their household, thanks in particular to the group sharing methods; its usefulness in preparing children to school through the cognitive exercises and its role in improving mother- child relation.
In 2014, a group of researchers from Yale University will begin conducting a research study on MOCEP’s implementation in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
- Kagitcibasi, C., et.al (2009). Continuing Effects of Early Enrichment in Adult Life: The Turkish Early Enrichment Project 22 Years Later. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 30 (2009) 764–779
- Bekman, S, Koçak, A. (2010). Mothers Reporting: The Mother-Child Education Program in Five Countries. ACEV Publications (Can be downloaded from Research & Publications Section on ACEV's website)