The lessons children learn in their first six years stay with them for life. But fragile family situations are often socially isolating for children. This means they miss out on important fundamental experiences. According to figures from Caritas Switzerland, around 133,000 children are affected by poverty. A further 317,000 are living on the poverty line.
Early education plays a crucial role in preventing poverty. This is where The Human Safety Net for Families program in partnership with Marie Meierhofer Institut für das Kind comes in. Our programme supports parents of children up to the age of six living in fragile family situations. We provide parents with advice about parenting issues and teach them how to promote learning through play at home. In the long-term, we want to help as many Swiss family centres as possible to establish professional services for early childhood education.
The MegaMarie space for play, crafts and interaction provided by the Marie Meierhofer Institute for Children (MMI) takes parents and children up to the age of six on a daily voyage of discovery. The Mega Marie space provides an accompanied environment in which children can play and be creative while parents from many different backgrounds can share their thoughts on child education and motivate each other. Learning through play and interacting with others is not only fun, it’s also highly beneficial for the brain.
The MegaMarieplus programme aims to strengthening family centres in Switzerland. We want more disadvantaged parents and children to be able to benefit from inspiring opportunities. MegaMarieplus is a hands-on programme based on scientific findings designed to empower family centres. The aim is for 60 family centres to take part in the programme by 2025. Around 24,000 parents and children under the age of six in fragile family situations will benefit from the services. Alongside this, it is hoped that at least 25 municipalities will also start supporting the family centres or will intensify the support they already provide. The programme was created by the Marie Meierhofer Institut für das Kind in collaboration with the Netzwerk Bildung und Familie and the support of The Human Safety Net.