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The Human Safety Net for Families

The situation

Impoverished children in wealthy Switzerland – this is reality. On average, there is one child affected by poverty in every school class. More than three children per class are at risk of experiencing poverty (Caritas 2019). Impoverished children are already at a disadvantage when they start school. One of the main reasons for this is that early childhood education in Switzerland is a private matter. Poverty-affected children often live in social isolation, and often don’t have access to education, culture and sporting activities from an early age. The longer children live in poverty, the worse their chances become of finding their way out of it as adults. That is why investing in children at this age is especially worthwhile. In their first few years, children absorb information and carry it with them for life. From an early age, they acquire the knowledge and skills required for a successful start to their schooling.

 

 

Our goal

For children to develop positively and get an equal start in life, they need appropriate support. This includes a stimulating environment and loving role models. Parents and caregivers play a key role here. The “Human Safety Net for Families” programme offers guidance in this respect, starting with early childhood education. Early education plays a crucial role in preventing poverty. Our programme supports parents in parenting issues and supports them on how to promote learning through play at home. Parents get to consult the professional staff at family centres and come into contact with other families. Our long-term goal is to support as many Swiss family centres as possible with establishing professional services for early childhood education.

 

 

Partners & initiatives

MegaMarie: a space to meet, play and be creative

Getting crafty, trying things out, discovering the world with all the senses. Learning through play and interacting with others is not only fun, it’s also highly beneficial for the brain. The MegaMarie space for play, crafts and interaction takes parents and children up to the age of six on a daily voyage of discovery. In times of tablets, smartphones, etc., activities such as group singing, painting, reading and crafts are a welcome change. The programme aims to inspire parents and caregivers. It promotes interaction between families, helping to reduce their social isolation. Parents can also consult the professional staff, who are happy to offer their advice.

 

MegaMarie is a project initiated by the “Marie Meierhofer Institut für das Kind” (MMI). For over 60 years, the institute has been a centre of excellence committed to ensuring that children get what they need to grow up healthy, both within the family home and beyond. With its space for play and interaction, the MMI and its partners are testing both new and proven forms of play and learning. It’s a place where research and practical application are used hand in hand. The knowledge gained is intended to be applied in other meeting places for young children and their caregivers in the future. The findings are also being used in the training and further education of playgroup leaders and nursery staff.

 

Impact in 2020

  • Parents and children have received 323 support offers
  • MegaMarie was open 184 days, despite lockdown restrictions
  • 2,149 visits from 650 children
  • 1,500 visits from 541 caregivers

 

More information on Marie Meierhofer Institut für das Kind.MegaMarie is a project initiated by the “Marie Meierhofer Institut für das Kind” (MMI). For over 60 years, the institute has been a centre of excellence committed to ensuring that children get what they need to grow up healthy, both within the family home and beyond. With its space for play and interaction, the MMI and its partners are testing both new and proven forms of play and learning. It’s a place where research and practical application are used hand in hand. The knowledge gained is intended to be applied in other meeting places for young children and their caregivers in the future. The findings are also being used in the training and further education of playgroup leaders and nursery staff.