Making parents and caregivers aware of their primordial role in their children's 'education' and future success
Educating the parents, the whole community is very important. It can be as simple as reading stories, sharing experiences, gathering knowledge of the community. Each person has something to share and make the young children grow and thrive in a stimulating and secure environment. Making the parents and all the caregivers aware of their importance in the education and future success of those children is primordial.
It is not just about nutrition and health. It is also about a community spirit and shared experiences.
Most foreign aid agencies focus on the physiological needs of the children and their safety first. I wonder if it is due to the Maslow’s needs hierarchy theory that has been so present in research and has been popularised extensively.
Maslow (1970) established that your needs are fulfilled orderly. The physiological and psychological needs must be met to ensure health and wellbeing. Without fulfilled basic needs and safety, you can achieve confidence or self-actualisation.
Maslow’s theory received lots of critique: it is very culturally specific, promotes capitalist values, and may neglect familial dimensions important to the community, among other critiques. Another counterargument could be the example of Zhang Xianliang who wrote a book “Grass Soup” (self-actualisation category of Maslow), whereas he was starving (without meeting his basic physiological needs).
Even though the theory of Maslow received lots of critique, his simple model was easy to remember and apply. It almost unconsciously entered into our collective Western education. That is may be why aid agencies focus first on the physiological needs and on the safety of the children in low-income countries. However, this is not enough for children to become successful in life.
MY PERSONAL VIEW, AS A MOTHER:
I totally agree with Dana, that even with University degrees, parents find it difficult to raise a child. I am a mother of a 22 months boy, and I really realise how tough it is to raise a child.
We want the best for him and try to find the best ways to nurture his body and his mind.
We can afford healthy products to feed him, and good doctors to ill him.
But what I also want by taking care of him is reading him stories, playing, talking, listening to him, making him discover his environment, funny sounds, nice lights, colours, … It is not just about nutrition and health, but also about confidence, love, discoveries, games and laughs.
My husband and I consider that we are not the only primary caregivers that he has as models. We aim to share this wonderful experience of being parents with our friends, our brothers and sisters, our parents, the ladies at the childcare… It is so important for him to have several caregivers. That is why raising a child in a village, in a community is so important. I personally read a book written by a French psychologist (Anne Baccus) to guide me at each step of his development, to get an idea of what he could do, what I could offer to him in terms of food, games, activities, language, …
MY PROFESIONAL EXPERIENCE: I was teacher trainer for teachers who wanted to be specialised for children with special needs during 4 years in France. My background is in Biology and I was very keen of coming up with scientific activities for the visually and/or physically impaired children. We were often amazed that they came up with new and surprising ideas, exploring new possibilities in such clever manners!
We need to give the chance/opportunity to every child to learn, play, laugh, and experience his environment to stimulate his curiosity, in a secure atmosphere. By doing this, we offer him the chances to succeed in life.