The Mark E Sanders Program is an effort to relocate young children from one of Kenya’s worst slums to the AEE campus and provide them with a stable & loving environment for them to grow & flourish. The program will utilize an innovative & individualized curriculum, constructed to optimize early childhood development.
The program is founded on a generous donation made by Austin Sanders & his wife Tyler, in memory of Austin’s father, Mark E Sanders. Due to the kindness of these individuals and their commitment to improving the live of others, the program bares the latter’s name.
Who We Are Helping
The program will target kids ages 3-7 years old from the Giotto Slum in Kenya. Giotto is one of the worst slums in Kenya, residents live in makeshift homes within a garbage dump site. With an estimated population of about 150 families (Many of Which are single parent, multi-child homes), the community struggles with a myriad of social issues including
poverty, crime, lack of basic resources & state violence.
A child’s life in the slum is extremely difficult, growing up one can expect to deal with malnutrition (Due to lack of access to clean food or water), environmental hazards ranging from daily fires to disease-causing agents like cholera, precarious living conditions at home, lack of education and physical/sexual abuse. As adults, they can expect to face the same conditions in addition to
criminal influence, sexual assault/ exploitation, substance abuse, job scarcity & economic discrimination.
Due to these extreme circumstances, it is absolutely paramount that as many children from Giotto are relocated as possible. The targeted enrollment for the Mark E Sanders Program is 50, which will account for every child from Giotto Slum ages 3-7 years old.
Philosophy & Objectives
* Foster critical thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence through a holistic & multidisciplinary approach to child development.
* Serve as an incubator for intelligent, well-adapted and happy individuals driven to make a positive contribution to their local & global community.
The program takes a holistic approach to early childhood education, that seeks to truly maximize a child’s full potential. The curriculum makes use of both innovative & traditional strategies to facilitate learning, with careful attention to teaching to each child’s needs. Lesson plans include Montessori inspired activities, real world exploration, technological literacy, and English language, in addition to more traditional early childhood education material.
With this objective in mind, we take into account a number of factors, including but not limited to the following:
•Living: A safe, clean & aesthetic living space with stable providers & caretakers
•Healthcare & Nutrition: A diet that truly nurtures the growing child & infrastructure supporting proper healthcare, optimal health & development
•Stimulus: A both constructed & unconstructed environment for work & play that stimulates child critical thinking & development
•Academics: Traditional classroom based learning, teaching stage appropriate curriculum for young learners
•Art: Opportunities for children to express themselves through the many mediums of art
•Athletics: Opportunities for children to explore greater motor function in a fun & competitive atmosphere
Sticking to Ascend’s “Ecosystem” philosophy, class never really ends. Outside of the “classroom”, kids can expect a continuation of the educational environment, with access to full spectrum of entertainment ranging television & tablets to art & outdoor activities; as well as fun, community building activities through out week (Field Trips, movie nights etc.)
After The Program
When the children age out of the Mark E Sanders Program curriculum (At around 7-8 years of age), they will be enrolled in a local primary school while remaining at AEE’s facility. By doing this, we will continue to be provide them with a positive environment for living & learning and the child will never have to return to the slum again.