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Page 14

Reaching for the Best in Early Child Care

Every day, Genoveva leads her small group of children in a reading session. Listening to a story every day nurtures a taste for reading and helps the children develop a higher ability for learning. Books are selected for their literary quality and according to age appropriateness. Portugal’s changing demographics and economic austerity measures are increasing pressure on caregivers. Childminders, like Genoveva Cunha, are particularly in need of methods that are cost efficient but do not compromise the development of the young children they care for. Since 2003, Genoveva has run a small day care center from her home in the Olivais neighborhood of Lisbon, Portugal. She knows that the physical, emotional and mental growth opportunities these children receive in their first few years of life is intrinsically tied to their ability to grow into healthy, independent adults.

Thanks to the Aga Khan Foundation Portugal (AKF Portugal), Genoveva receives weekly visits from trainers at AKF’s Early Childhood Development Centre, Portugal’s premier early childhood development (ECD) institution and a long-time Flagship Partner of the Trust. The trainers and Genoveva discuss each child’s progress, how to strengthen relationships with the children’s families and insights from the latest ECD research. Whether about development, learning, nutrition, health, or safety in the home, AKF provides Genoveva with the tools she needs to provide high-quality education and care to Olivais’ youngest pupils from low-income families.

Photo credit: This page: Lucas Cuervo Moura, AKDN. Opposite page: Lucas Cuervo Moura, AKDN (left). Aga Khan Foundation Portugal (right).

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