“A way of awareness generation and involvement of community in Early Childhood Care and Education”.
Early years of life are very crucial and formative years as foundation for holistic development of child is laid during these years which in turn helps in shaping the future of the child. Cohesiveness in terms of inputs during these years including-care, health, nutrition, early joyful learning experiences, that too, in an enabling and protective environment are the main concerns for Earli Children Care and Education (ECCE) for children between 0-6 years of age and making community especially, parents aware about the importance of the said issues holds utmost importance for the greater concern of the future asset of our nation i.e.children and for which a day is organised on fixed day monthly basis i.e.19th of each month at ECCE centres.
ECCE day provides a platform to the functionaries of the centre and the parents/ community in which activities are organised for advocacy, awareness generation about ECCE and for their involvement as well as for establishing partenership for optimum development of children.
It is organised with the purpose to enlighten parents/community about age and developmentlly appropriate ECCE practices; facilitate their participation by creating opportunities to contribute human and material support to the centre; inform them to get them well versed with the non-formal play and activity based method of learning and to inform about the progress of their child’s growth, development and learning milestones.
Activities organised on this day include- display of art and craft work,worksheets, models etc prepared by children; demonstration of activities along with rationale as why they are to be conducted for fostering development of different domains of child development; share child’s assessment and in turn get their feedback and display of material including – charts / audio-visuals for advocacy of ECCE and discussion on issues of utmost importance related to their children take place which include-importance of early childhood, care giving at home, early stimulation, growth and developmental milestones during early years, developmental delays, early signs of disability, importance of play, formation of good habits, significance of non- formal pre-school education, their role in ECCE, preparing children for school/school readiness- formation of pre-reading, pre- writing and pre-number concepts and development of a mechanism in consultation with community for involving mothers and adolescent girls in preparing various tasks at centre such as -preparation and distribution of supplementry food, preparation of teaching aids,organisation of ECCE activities for children etc.
In order to make the said day fruitful and for the greater benefit of the parents and in turn for their children, functionaries of the centre have to ensure the involvement of all the groups including mother’s groups, Village Education Committees (VECs), local NGOs working in the ECCE field, primary school teacher, trained ECCE persons in the community, grandparents especially grandmothers, elderly citizens, local artisans, craft persons, folk artisans, traditional / community leaders, office bearers of Mahila Mandal, office bearers of youth clubs/ Nehru Yuva Kendras, health functionaries- ANM, LHV, ASHA and Sakhi/ saheli of Sabla and Kishori Shakti Yojna.
To conclude, organisation of ECCE day helps us in various ways by achieving positive outcomes in terms of raising awareness about importance of ECCE; enrolling all children including girls at centre;raising awareness regarding locally and less expensive material available for play activities for children under 6 years of age; emphasising on parental role in making ECCE useful to their children, informing parents about child’s progress on child progress card and ECCE work booklet and generating awareness about the role of local artisans in preparation of inexpensive ECCE material of indigenous origin from locally available material.
(The author is State Level Master Trainer State Resource Centre Mission ICDS Jammu)
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