Article originally published at FijiTimes.com

Update: 12:10PM ANN Cooper lives in Laguna Beach, California which is about 8750 kilometres away from Fiji.

Yet she has initiated a kindergarten project in Vanua Levu which has two pre-schools in Vunikura and Nawi for 64 children between the ages of four and six.

The faith-based project The Fiji Kinde Project – has been running since 2007 and she has plans to open up a third kindergarten in Loa when she returns to Fiji in September.

A former kindergarten teacher from California in the USA, Cooper has a passion for early childhood education.

I believe learning at a young age is foundational for children to fully develop to their full potential, says Cooper.
I’ve visited Fiji five times with my family, spending a lot of time in Buca Bay and I can see a great need for pre-school education in the area.
I want to contribute to this wonderful country in this small way.

The project has also been providing assistance to kindergartens in Kioa and Vatuvonu.

Under the project, teachers from the US, many of whom specialise in pre-school reading, art and creative classroom management, visit villages at the invitation of the community to set up the kindergartens.

Since the start of the project we have brought in six teachers and other helpers from the US to help start the kindies and teach the teachers, says Cooper.

As they teach kindie to these children, the teachers from the States are showing the local teachers how to teach as well.

The village teachers get hands-on experience and observe a kindergarten classroom in progress.

The team also brings all the materials for learning and donates everything to the kindergartens.

Items such as crayons, markers, paper, scissors, puzzles, alphabet letters, learning games, puppets, books etc are all used to teach and help guide the pre-schoolers ones to expand their thinking skills.

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