Investing in Families – Early Childhood Development and Education for Children and Parents
Children International (CI) provides high-quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) programming for young children ages 3-5 and their moms through local centers located in the Bawana slums of Delhi, India. Our idea is to take CI’s already proven ECD program to more children by partnering with India government schools in Delhi. With this partnership, we can reach more children and parents with the basic educational foundation that is critical for their long-term success and improve the quality of ECD at the government schools. Key components of our ECD program include basic academic instruction, development of motor skills, social interaction and creativity, hygiene education, nutritional meals as well as training and support for parents.
Providing children ages 3-5 with high quality education and learning opportunities is critical for their long-term development and success. Within India, there is a growing focus on Early Childhood Development through the government’s recent policies of Right to Education Act and the National Policy on Early Childhood Care and Development. However, many young children in the slum community of Bawana in Delhi, India do not have access to high quality pre-primary education due to the low-quality of government ECD classes and the lack of NGO ECD programs in the area. This often causes children to lack the necessary skills and developmental abilities required to succeed in primary and secondary education and beyond. Children International (CI) seeks to address this problem by providing more children in this specific community with high-quality pre-primary educational opportunities.
Class in session! Early Childhood Development in the Bawana slum of Delhi.
Many of the families we work with in the Bawana slum area of Delhi have an average of five to six children. Moms appreciate the Early Childhood Development support.
Parent involvement is what makes the difference in our ECD program.
Children International currently operates an Early Childhood Development program in the Bawana slum community of Delhi, India for children ages 3-5. Additionally, the local government also operates its own, separate ECD centers in the community (known as Integrated Child Development Services, or ICDS). These ICDS centers are meant to provide full ECD programming, including nutritional care and educational instruction; however, they mainly focus on infant and child health through nutrition, immunizations and referral services while the educational component is weak and could be greatly strengthened.
CI’s basic idea is to partner with the government ICDS centers in this community to operate their ECD program using our full-service ECD model. Not only would this partnership improve the quality of pre-primary education for these children, it would provide increased training and support to the children’s parents, resulting in stronger family relationships and thriving children.
Children International’s model for ECD programming in Delhi includes a mix of strategies and materials from UNICEF, Aflatot (financial and social literacy) and CI itself. Following are the key components of the program which would be implemented through the government ECD classes:
1.Basic instruction in and development of the following areas:
- Language and vocabulary (English and Hindi)
- Physical activity
- Motor skills (gross and fine)
- Financial literacy
- Life skills
- Social interaction and relationships
- Expression and creativity (music and art)
- Hygiene (including dental care and handwashing)
2. Nutritional care:
- All children in the program will receive a healthy meal each day (five days per week) that is served at the center.
- Regular monitoring of height, weight and BMI (Body Mass Index) status by staff and caregivers
- Referral of malnourished children to local nutrition rehabilitation programs (either through CI or local government programs)
- Nutrition education for both children and parents
The ECD classes would operate five days per week within the community at the government schools and would be staffed by certified, trained ECD teachers and assisted by trained volunteers.
- Parents can volunteer to help with the ECD program. Parent volunteers will receive training specific to their role in the program as well as hands-on training they can apply with their children at home.
- Parent workshops with external child development experts
- Financial literacy classes for parents (along with their children)
- Local staff will conduct regular meetings with parents throughout the program’s implementation to keep them informed about their children’s progress.
Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?
This idea will directly benefit children ages 3-5 in the Bawana slum area of Delhi, India. The children’s parents, particularly the mothers, will also receive direct support and training to strengthen their parenting skills and establish a network of mothers supporting each other.
How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?
CI has experience implementing ECD programs in a variety of contexts and locations around the world (including urban slum areas within Ecuador, Zambia and India) and has implemented a successful ECD program in this specific area of Delhi since 2008. The local community in Bawana has been very receptive and supportive of this program over the past 7 years. CI is confident that this proven model of Early Childhood Education will yield great results if selected. We seek now to take ECD programming further by partnering with local government partners. To test this, we would first rely on our team working in the Bawana slum area of Delhi to further investigate the possibility of reaching out to local government ICDS centers and confirm their interest and understand better what it would take to partner with them on this mission to provide ECD programming to more children and parents in the vulnerable community of Bawana.
What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?
In order to implement this idea in a sustainable way, CI would need help in a number of areas including:
Funding; Development of an impact evaluation on children who have participated in CI’s ECD program to demonstrate the results of CI’s model (we believe this is necessary in order for the government to willingly accept this partnership) and ; Local expertise and support for engagement and sustainment of partnership with the government.
Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?
Yes. I am ready and interested in testing this idea and making it real in my community.