Early Childhood Care And Development
A program especially developed for unprivileged children
Early Childhood Care And Development 24 September, 2010 – As part of their early childhood care and development (ECCD) programme, the education ministry will start 40 community-based early learning centre across country, according to ministry officials.
ECCD is a programme to help children develop an ability to think, form relationships, and live up to his or her full potential to interact with proper stimulation. ECCD is especially developed for unprivileged children in both rural and urban settings, where parents cannot afford to send their children to private day care centres, if both parents are working.
The early learning care centre was first established in Wangduephodrang and Tsirang as a pilot run in 2008. Officials explained that they established few centres in other dzongkhags after they found the test programmes useful and successful. “We’re planning to start two centres in each dzongkhags by December,” said the official.
The centre was initially started for parents, who attend non-formal education with small children at home and posed difficulties for them to attend class. “But now with separate rooms provided, they can keep their children while they’re in the class, which is early learning centre,” said the official. “These children aren’t only taken care, but are also taught.”
Each centre has about 15 children ranging from three to five years with a facilitator. “The community can also drop their children, when they go out in their field to work. Most of the villagers have found it essential after they learnt the importance of the centre,” said an official.
At the centres, children will also learn social, physical, cognitive and language development.
“They’ll also be taught on the social emotional skills, communication, and lately they also added study of spiritual and moral cultural values.”
Officials said education in this period is critical as it lays the foundation for all subsequent learning and development, before children enroll to formal schooling without much preparation and readiness. “It’s the only programme that caters to the needs of many parents and children, particularly in the rural areas,” said the official.
Unlike the privately run day care centres, parents do not have to pay, and the centres will be maintained by the ministry “Parents can contribute materials and mobilise the centre in gewog and dzongkhag,” said the official.
The programme is supported by UNICEF and Save the Children, who are aiding in finding locations at different communities for the pilot run. There are 10 full-fledged ECCD centres in a few dzongkhags at present. “A nationwide assessment of the feasibility and effectiveness of the programme would be carried out towards the end of the 10 FYP,” said the official.
Meanwhile, official said, after learning benefits of the centres, the ministry will present the report to the government to seek more fund. “It will be the government who’ll decide whether to carry on with the programme.”