Queen Rania commends Chile’s commitment to early childhood development programs

October 21, 2008

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Santiago) While in Chile, Monday, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah took time to highlight the country’s progressive early childhood programs by visiting the Javiera Carrera kindergarten, an Integra Foundation supported school that caters to the underprivileged community. Her Majesty was joined by Princess Noor Hamzah, Chilean Minister of Education Monica Jimenez and the National and Regional Directors of the Integra Foundation, Loreto Amunategui and Marcela Fontecilla.

Queen Rania, who is accompanying His Majesty King Abdullah to Latin America, commended the work of the Integra Foundation, noting that their progress is a model that should be exported to other parts of the world.

The Integra Foundation was established in 1990 and is considered the keystone of formulating child rights into a firm and well-established service for the public. It is a non-profit private foundation focused on assisting the educational and social development of underprivileged children aged 3 months to 5 years old. Operating under the command of Chile’s president, it caters to more than 1,000 nursery schools and playgroup centers, provides assistance to 80,000 children in situation of poverty and social vulnerability, and has more than 12,500 workers committed to the development who operate in 95 percent of poorest and most isolated areas of Chile.

The Javiera Carrera kindergarten assists over 200 children from families of low income; nursery and kindergarten.

While touring the school Queen Rania was briefed on the programs, including the valuable food program that aims at ensuring a normal growth for the children and protecting them from health problems such as overweight and obesity, as well as early development programs. According to the directors, the majority of kindergartens in Chile are state run.

The Queen also toured a technology focused classroom for four year olds, which promotes social equality by giving underprivileged children access to technology and strengthening their educational foundation. The program, which started this year and is set to equip all Integra Foundation nurseries with technology by 2010, focuses mainly on technology in science, math and learning English.

Her Majesty and Princess Noor also enjoyed a performance by children dressed in traditional Chilean wear, who all appeared proud to show off their rich heritage to the royal guests.