Getting Ready for School – Revised Materials

Child to Child’s Getting Ready for School (GRS) programme presents an innovative, low-cost solution that supports school readiness for children with little access to quality early learning opportunites. Its defining characteristic is that it involves the direct and active participation of children as agents of change. GRS is based on the Child to Child concept of older children (Young Facilitators) being supported to teach/coach younger children (Young Learners) in their communities.

GRS is was first funded by UNICEF and piloted in six countries from 2007-10: Bangladesh, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tajikistan and Yemen. Based on the learning from the pilot, the model was later adapted for post-disaster contexts in Asia and Africa. Over the course of various iterations, a number of materials were developed to support implementing organisations, schools, teachers and Young Facilitators to deliver the programme.

In 2020, we commissioned a comprehensive review, collation and consolidation process for our Getting Ready for School (GRS) project materials. The following provide a roadmap to project implementation:

MINT Mentoring Methodological Framework

Migrant children and youth are especially vulnerable to social exclusion. Through the MINT Project, Terre des hommes and its partners aim to empower refugee and migrant children, as well as European youth, to engage in new integration activities.

Child to Child was commissioned to develop a Mentoring Methodological Framework for the MINT project, which has wide applicability across contexts. This is currently a living document that shall be added to during the course of the project, based on experience. However, it does provide guidelines for addressing programme design; mentoring in practice; and cross-cutting considerations like child participation, gender equity and cultural sensitivity.

The framework as submitted to TdH is available below.

Learning for Wellbeing Magazine Article – Hearing All Voices

In 2017, we published an article onHearing All Voices – Transforming the Lives of Vulnerable Youth: The power of  participation’ in the Learning for Well-being Magazine, Issue 3, published by the Learning for Well-being Foundation.

Child to Child’s London-based project Hearing All Voices worked in secondary schools and Colleges of Further Education with young people from a range of marginalised groups. The project led to substantive transformations academically, socially and emotionally, equipping students with the ‘soft skills’ more likely to lead to employment and improved life chances overall. Teachers’ professional practice was also positively impacted.

Hearing All Voices offers insight into what can happen when there is a radical shift in the relationships between adults and young people, a shift which disrupts the traditional power dynamics typically found in educational settings.

Authors: Carolyn Conway, Grazyna Bonati, Liz Arif-Fear, Tricia Young

Final Evaluation Pikin to Pikin Tok Project Sierra Leone

Child to Child had been working in partnership with the Sierra Leonean NGO, the Pikin-To-Pikin Movement, to implement a 5 year community-based Early Childhood Development project in the remote Eastern district of Sierra Leone, when the Ebola outbreak halted all activities in March 2014.

We couldn’t continue our project as it was originally designed because it required children to come together in groups – a major public health hazard. So we turned to radio. Radio minimises the risk of Ebola transmission as no public gathering is required and allows larger numbers of beneficiaries to be reached.

In December 2014, we commissioned an award-winning radio production team to produce the radio educational series Pikin to Pikin Tok (which means Child to Child Talk in the local language Krio). In line with the objectives of our original project, the Pikin to Pikin Tok radio series is intended to enhance children’s social, numeracy, literacy and life skills. It is made up of three different programmes – Story Time, Under the Mango Tree and Messages Through Music – each of which target different age ranges. Many of the programmes address health and hygiene, critical issues in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.

In line with our ethos to work in partnership with children, we recruited and trained groups of children as ‘young journalists’. They have helped to identify stories, interview key stakeholders and record audio content. Our radio team mixes this audio content into high quality programmes which are then broadcast by local radio station Radio Moa across Kailahun District.

To make sure children are able to listen to Pikin to Pikin Tok, we have distributed hundreds of solar powered wind up radios. We have also created listener groups, where children come together supported by trained adult facilitators to listen to the programmes and engage in discussions about the issues being addressed. Children are encouraged to phone in after the radio broadcasts to express their views and opinions.

The project ended in 2016 and we can now share the final evaluation, written by the Institute for Development (IfD).

The Educational Knapsack

The Alforja Educativa (“Educational Knapsack”) is a set of play-based, practical activities focussing on harmony among all living things both visible and invisible. Developed by Ecuador-based Centro Niño a Niño (Child to Child Center – a partner of Child to Child)  in conjunction with ReAct LatinAmerica, the Knapsack is grounded in the indigenous cosmovision of “Sumak Kawsay” (“Good Living”) and uses Child to Child methodology to allow children to investigate, study, act, and communicate about the microbial world and its role in the web of life.

Within the framework of integral health, the children also study the effect of antibiotic abuse on helpful microbes, resulting in disharmony and the serious problem of antibiotic resistance. Another prominent theme is that of “Alegremia” (literally, “happiness in the blood”) and what is needed to assure health and happiness in this world. The knapsack includes activity guides, stories, videos and songs and is available on-line in Spanish.  Translation into English is underway.


Alforja Educativa: Salud Escolar y el Mundo Microbiano (Educational Knapsack: School Health and the Microbial World)

  1. Parte 1: Alimento para la vida, Aire, Agua (Part 1: Food for Life, Air, Water)
  2. Parte 2: Sumak Kawsay Entro Los Más Pequeños, Bacterias y Resistencia a los Antibióticos (Part 2: Good Living Among the Smallest Beings, Bacteria, and Antibiotic Resistance)

Paso a Paso: Promoviendo Salud en las Escuelas, el Hogar y la Comunidad (Step by Step: Promoting Health in Schools, the Home, and the Community)

Designed as a simple reader through which the story is told of the “School Health and Microbial World” project.

Paso a Paso: Promoviendo Salud en las Escuelas, el Hogar y la Comunidad (Step by Step: Promoting Health in Schools, the Home and the Community)

De los Más Pequeños a los Diminutos del Planeta (From the Smallest to the Tiniest on the Planet)

A book of stories about the magical world of bacteria, created by a group of 60 boys and girls from five schools in Cuenca, Ecuador.

De los Más Pequeños a los Diminutos del Planeta: Cuentos Bacterianos Escritos por Niños y Niñas (From the Smallest to the Tiniest on the Planet: Bacteria Stories written by Boys and Girls)


Themes written and composed by the Cuban Ecologist Group in the Network, with upbeat rhythms and simple text, but with very clear and convincing messages about Sumak Kawsay, the world of bacteria, bacterial resistance, Alegremia and Child to Child.

Alforja Educativa – Educational Knapsack songs (folder 1 of 2)

Alforja Educativa – Educational Knapsack songs (folder 2 of 2)


Stories constructed and told by boys and girls themselves that allow us to discover and develop the affection and empathy for all forms of life. The audiovisuals are in the same thematic areas as the songs.

All of the videos are available to download directly from the ReAct website.

For more information about the Knapsack project please email or visit our project page.

UNGEI Study: Child Centred Education through Radio Project in Sierra Leone

The Pikin to Pikin Tok education through radio project has been recognised by the UN Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) for its transformative impact on girls’ education, and the way in which gender issues are addressed in communities in post-Ebola Sierra Leone.

This case study was commissioned to document how effectively radio was used as a means to deliver:

  • early years and life skills educational content
  • psychosocial support to address the range of issues affecting children and young people impacted by Ebola.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Pikin to Pikin Movement and Child to Child. Findings include powerful examples of how messages on issues from teen pregnancy to hand-washing were relayed and retained, and how learning from the Story Time and Under the Mango Tree programmes was linked to the real lives of children.

Getting Ready for School Programme Evaluation for Year One

Produced by the independent evaluators AIR contracted by UNICEF, this evaluation of Year One of the Getting Ready for School programme aims at drawing conclusions about the success of this pilot programme overall and formulating general recommendations to guide future programme implementation and expansion within and across countries.

“There were at least some significant programme impacts on children’s school readiness in all six countries, and there were significant programme impacts on children’s beginning literacy and beginning mathematics in four countries. Impacts on non-academic skills, such as the ability to follow directions, were less consistent across countries. Programme impacts were most apparent in countries where children had a higher programme dosage (such as extra home- or community-based sessions).”

Getting Ready for School Evaluations Year 1 Grade 1

This evaluation, commissioned by UNICEF to the independent evaluation experts AIR, combined quantitative and qualitative data, in the aim of determining whether the low-cost, non-formal programme could indeed make an impact on children’s school readiness. The findings are intended to identify programme strengths, weaknesses, challenges and best practices to guide future implementation and expansion of this programme.

Among other findings, it was noted that the Getting Ready for School programme substantially improved on-time enrolment, children’s academic progress and adjustment to the classroom, and family involvement in primary school.