Oumou and other children in the Bisongo. Currently just under four per cent of eligible children in Burkina Faso are enrolled in some form of early childhood development programme. To most parents singing, dancing, drawing and playing look far less important than what children learn in primary school. But research shows that the ‘soft’ skills young children learn in preschool, including the ability to pay attention and focus, work as part of a group, follow a routine, share, make compromises and resolve conflicts, will translate directly into primary school success. Children arrive at primary school ready to learn and they do better in primary, and even secondary school, and are far less likely to repeat a grade or drop out.
Today, as a direct result of UNICEF’s advocacy, early childhood development is part of the national education plan and UNICEF’s Bisongo model—featuring community based care for young children—is helping to ensure the country meets its early childhood enrolment goals.

Burkina Faso