Early Childhood Development
Welcome to GROW
Moved by one migrant domestic worker's plight, two individuals decided to take action and open an early childhood development center. Several years later, their efforts developed into an NGO that focuses on mitigating the toxic environment many children experience by giving them a safe, warm, and welcoming non-anxious climate to explore, grow, and develop.
The Philemon Project's GROW Early Childhood Development (ECD) Center and Adult Mentoring (AM) Program was founded to provide underserved Lebanese, migrant, and refugee children with the best possible early childhood development program, an approach that should significantly narrow race- and income-based achievement gaps. Additionally, we work to improve family situations by helping these children's parent(s) through our adult mentoring program.
Lebanon, with a total indigenous population of 4.5 million people, also hosts more than 1.5 million documented Syrian refugees and more than 250,000 documented migrants working in Lebanon. According to many scholars, the Syrian refugee crisis is the largest in terms of displaced peoples since World War II.
In Lebanon today, more than half a million children do not attend schools. Those who attend under-resourced schools do not achieve their expected level of cognitive development due to poverty, political and economic turmoil, and associated lack of early learning opportunities.
Adequate social services in Lebanon do not exist to support at-risk and underserved communities; this unfortunate reality severely hinders growth among those populations. Preschools are in abundance, but all charge fees well beyond the reach of the poor, leaving their children vulnerable and undereducated and the communities frustrated. COVID came while the country has been experiencing an extreme economic crisis. The devaluation of the currency, combined with people losing their jobs or receiving less than half of their salary, has affected our community's most vulnerable more than most. Many people can't buy the basic necessities because of a worsening economic crisis and a 55% poverty rate.
The amount of suffering is bewildering; from food shortages, economic crisis, inflation, COVID, and a devastating port blast - many are left without hope.
Despite the obstacles, we press on to know that our work transforms children, reshapes families, and impacts the community. Neuroscientists, economists, and early childhood development experts all advise that investing in a child's early years is the most powerful way to affect society's change. According to UNICEF, every $1 spent on early development produces a $13 return into society. Reaching children in their earliest years is emerging as a top focus around the world.
GROW's vision is to grow whole and healthy children, who can then mature into whole and healthy adults. We desire to expand our current facility to receive more children and replicate our Christian early childhood development and adult mentoring program in other areas of Lebanon.
If you would like to learn more about partnering with The Philemon Project, please contact us.
Our Focus At GROW
Many of the children who attend GROW entered with limited language, social, and cognitive abilities. Since entering our Center, they have rapidly grown and flourished due to the enriching education and care they receive. Our children can speak English, Arabic, and their mother tongue seamlessly. Their parents observe the changes in their children, start to become real partners in their children's development experience, and know that it is the Church - the hands and feet of Christ - providing this support.
Significant Elements of the
Philemon Project's GROW Center
Builds on mental development skills introduced through children's creative play, stories, reading, and games with complex rules.
Introduces children to God's incomprehensible love in Jesus Christ through biblical principles, bible stories, and songs.
Developing fine and gross motor skills through active learning and exploring their environment.
Introduces children to community development skills such as sharing, problem-solving, and empathy.
GROW welcomes underserved children and families from all ethnicities and religious backgrounds, providing a healthy place for children ages one (1) to four (4) years old to explore their world and grow: cognitively, physically, socially, and spiritually.
Meet Our Teachers
Our all-female staff plays a vital role in shaping young children to better cope with and recover from traumatic and stressful experiences. We invest, train, and equip staff to provide young children with sensitive and responsive care, using their multi-lingual skills and expertise. We strive to implement best practices, encouraging continuous professional development through regular workshops and peer review.