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The Arcanys Early Learning Foundation in the Philippines

November 08, 20173 min read

The Arcanys Early Learning Foundation was founded in 2012 to help families in poor districts of Cebu City, Philippines. Starting as a small project inspired by the ChildUp Early Learning Model, the Arcanys Early Learning Foundation launched a parent-child math learning program in the community.

At the beginning, ten preschool teachers started visiting families at home to teach math to 3 to 5-year-old children several times a week. The goal was to teach the children how to count, identify numbers, compare quantities, and do simple addition. In a span of two months, the teachers of the foundation completed 25 lessons with each family.

Currently employing 20 teachers, the Arcanys Early Learning Foundation continues to offer free math coaching at home for parents and preschoolers in poor areas of Cebu City. Apart from home visits, the foundation organizes periodic Math Olympic events for the communities where beneficiary children can test their math skills through fun and competitive games.

Since June 2012, more than 3,000 families completed the 3-month math training program of the foundation, a total of more than 90,000 math sessions.

An initial study, conducted by Dr. Catherine McBride-Chang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Dr. Sam Kwing Cheung of Hong Kong Baptist University measured the impact of the coaching program of the Arcanys Foundation, and showed a significant improvement in math skills in just two months of coaching.

In 2016, a large scale study by Professor Catherine McBride-Chang and Ph.D. candidate Katrina Dulay of CUHK, which involved 579 children, showed that children in the math coaching group improved almost twice as much as the children in control groups on “identifying numbers, counting objects, and reciting number sequences.” The research team is conducting follow-up assessments 6 months, 12 and 24 months after the intervention, and should have findings to share by 2018.

In 2016, International Care Ministries ICM, a large non-profit organization helping the ultra-poor of the Philippines, has been conducting multiple pilots involving up to 1,500 families to replicate and adapt the parent coaching methodology of the Arcanys Foundation. Considering the very encouraging results, ICM now thinks about scaling this project to thousands of families each year from 2018.

The vision of the Arcanys Early Learning Foundation is to create an opportunity for young children from disadvantaged families to receive more support from their parents as their first teachers. For the past 5 years, thousands of mothers and fathers have learned they can play a determining role in the future of their children by helping them not only learn basic math, but also the crucial importance of studying in general.

A US$100 donation to the Arcanys Early Learning Foundation will change the life of one family, with intensive math classes for 3 months. 85% of this amount is allocated to the teacher’s salary, 10% to food and snacks for the family, and the remaining 5% to prizes, and other expenses.

The Arcanys Foundation doesn’t have any administrative overhead (covered pro bono), except for its teachers and project managers; you can rest assured that all your money will be spent directly and fully for the benefit of the involved families.

Related article: Information about the Ermita project: Phase 1 results

Alan Debonneville

Alan Debonneville

Co-founder & CEO

Alan Debonneville

Co-founder & CEO

With an extensive background in start-ups and innovation, Alan is co-founder and CEO of Arcanys, a software outsourcing company and startup incubator based in Cebu, Philippines. Deeply passionate about innovations and new ventures related to software, e-commerce, gaming, education, and recently the non-profit field, Alan is always looking to partner up and help entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into reality.

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