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The World Association of Early Childhood Educators (Asociación Mundial de Educadores Infantiles) is a non-governmental organization at the service of the education of young children. The Association works to make it possible for every child younger than six years of age to exercise his or her right to an early educational service to fully develop capabilities, and moral and social responsibility according to article 7 of the United Nations Declaration on Children’s Rights. The Association provides support for teachers in their role as early childhood educators.
Early childhood, considered as the stage of development from birth until six or seven years of age, is considered the most significant period in the formation of the individual. It is then that the foundations of the physical attributes and the psychological formation of the personality are set, to be consolidated and improved in the following stages of development. It has been stated that at birth, the child is no more than a “candidate to the human race” (H. Pieron); through education, the child can gain the means to join the human race. Thus early education, whether called early childhood education, preschool, or initial education, is an extraordinarily important undertaking.
The World Association of Early Childhood Educators (AMEI-WAECE) was born as the result of meetings among professionals in the field from different countries during the First International Conference on Early Childhood Education held in 1991 in Vitoria, Spain. The early childhood professionals that met there came to the conclusion that, although there were already several international organizations with education or underprivileged children as their main objective, there were no organizations that effectively supported the classroom teacher in her daily work and that there was a clear need for this support.
For fifteen years, WAECE has provided the members of WAECE with as much information and training as possible on the trends and latest research work in the field of early education, and has helped the educators that work every day with young children, providing them with reports and materials that make such work easier for them. The Association forges contacts among educators from around the world, and conducts international conferences for educators to share their knowledge with others.
A main focus of the WAECE is in the education of values and peace education. There is a saying that “Men have learnt how to fly like birds, have learnt to swim in the depths of the sea like fish, but have not learnt the noble art of living like brothers.” Thus, peace education is an integral learning component in the lives of young children, a transfer of values that remains in the long run and extends during all of their lives. WAECE, through its establishment of a Permanent Chair for Peace Education strives to educate from childhood in the noble art of living like brothers. It has produced a 751-page “Activities for Children” book that offers teachers classroom learning activities for over 40 values, such as self-control, love for team efforts and work, patience, honesty, sensitivity, creativity, responsibility, truthfulness, filial love, love for nature, generosity, compassion, obedience, and gratitude. WAECE sponsors the World Conference on Early Childhood Education for Peace.
In taking the decision to present WAECE/AMEI with its 2007 Education, Media, and the Arts Award, the Awards Committee and WANGO International particularly were impressed with the sincere and selfless dedication of the organization to the important task of educating young children in terms of values--values that can guide them throughout their lives. Through WAECE’s exceptional accomplishments, they are paving the way to a world of peace and well-being for all.