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ESP First Learning Steps


First Learning Steps is an early childcare and education program that promotes the rights of children in their early years through a comprehensive model that fosters local development in marginalized urban areas in Colombia. The program encourages the promotion of child development through significant experiences depending on their developmental level, potential and capabilities and nurtures their well-being and nutrition. It is designed to recognize the socio-economic context of children living in high-risk conditions to increase their opportunities and improve their lives. 

Line Early Childhood Education

Level Preschool

Program Start 2009

Program Duration Yearly

Yearly Average Cost per Student US $1,421


Beneficiaries 14,144 children ,  38 early education centers.

Regions Magdalena, Nariño, Boyacá and Chocó                                                                                    

Allies and Donors Corporación Infancia y Desarrollo, Fundación Bancolombia, Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar, Drummond, Protección, Tamarin Foundation.


Past Beneficiaries  Children aged 0 -  5 years, pregnant and expectant mothers 

Previous Regions of Implementations  Magdalena and Nariño

Historic Allies and Donors Fundación Bancolombia,  Agencia Presidencial de Cooperación Internacional de Colombia, El Fondo para la Acción Ambiental y la Niñez,  ICBF Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familia, Drummond, Protección, Source of Hope Foundation,  Tamarin Foundation.


Main objective

Promote the comprehensive development of children, their families and the communities through pedagogical and psychosocial strategies in alignment with Colombian public policy for early childhood.

Specific Objectives

  • Ensure comprehensive care through a program that integrates children, families and communities according to the guidelines established by the national government.
  • Contribute to the improvement of the quality of early childcare and education through a program that seeks to be replicable and transferable nationwide to other grassroots organizations.
  • Implement mechanisms for local management and social mobilization in the municipalities where the program is developed.


In Colombia, more than 10% of the population are children under 5 years old. Over 55% of these children live in socioeconomic vulnerability and do not have access to comprehensive care and education. As a consequence of the poverty experienced by these children, many  suffer from malnutrition and health problems. Until 2009 there was not an established national policy regarding early child care in Colombia.Studies have proved that development of intelligence occurs mainly between 3 to 5 years of age. Investing in early childhood education increases the children’s opportunities to be successful in elementary school and improves the efficiency of education in the long run

Since setting up a pilot program in the city of Santa Marta in 2009,  Genesis Foundation and the Corporación Infancia y Desarrollo (CID) have jointly committed to help provide better opportunities for infants in Colombia. In 2012 it became one of the models chosen by the national government to operate the 2010 Early Childhood Care Strategy called "De Cero a Siempre".’ Thanks to its successful development and implementation, Learning Steps has been replicated in many municipalities of the Departments of Magdalena and Nariño and will expand to Chocó and Boyacá in 2015

Awards, Forums and Other Accomplishments

  • In 2013 Colombian Agency for International cooperation recognized First Learning Steps as a program capable of being replicated in Latin America
  • Acknowledged by WISE  (World Innovation Summit for Education) as an innovative education program to be presented at the 2014 forum.
  • One of the experiences chosen at that Early Childhood World Forum in Buenos Aires in 2014.
  • The Colombian Institute of Family Welfare  identified FLS as one of the most successful national-scale models promoting comprehensive care and fostering community-minded mothers

In 2015, Genesis Foundation and its allies began efforts to transfer First Leaning Steps to other service provider organizations and entities with the aim of further boosting their capacities and strengthening the comprehensive development of the young children that they currently look after.



Qualification of smaller organizations in order to enhance their capabilities and strengthen the comprehensive development of children of early childhood.  

Line Early Childhood Education

Level Preschool- Primary School

Program start date 2015

Project duration 1 Year


Beneficiaries 147 small organizations

Regions Magdalena, Nariño, Boyacá and Chocó

Allies Corporación Infancia y Desarrollo and ICBF


FLS-T is a program that looks to draw up a methodology to ensure that the transition for young children's from Early Childhood to formal education is successful.  

Line Early Childhood Education

Level Preschool- Primary School

Program start date 2013

Project duration 3 Years



Beneficiaries Development centers and educational institutions

Regions Magdalena

Allies  Fundación Promigas


The Alianza Interinstitucional para la Attention a la Primera Infancia aims to  combine the entities’ technical, physical, economic and administrative resources with a view to supporting the national and regional design, implementation and sustainability of the Comprehensive Care Policy on Early Childhood defined under the “De Cero a Siempre” framework