Early childhood is a crucial stage of life in terms of a childís physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. A very high proportion of learning takes place from birth to age six. It is a time when children particularly need high quality personal care and learning experiences. With this in mind, GMRVF has started Bala Badis and is supporting the Government Anganwadis at different locations.
These centers provide joyful learning along with inculcating good habits in children of 3- 5 year age group. In addition, efforts are made to develop the inherent abilities of the children through activities like songs, games etc. A nutritious snack is provided daily to the children. The concerted efforts with this age group have helped in school-preparedness while also engaging parents in their childrenís learning process.
Currently, Foundation runs 58 Bala Badis in different locations. Foundation is also partnering with the Department of Women and Child Welfare Developmentís Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in providing support to 71 government run Anganwadis. Altogether, these 129 early child care institutions reach out to about 3000 children.
- Foundationís own Bala Badis are set up with instructors and volunteers drawn from the community itself. GMRVF trains them to be effective learning facilitators.
- Bala Badi operations across the locations are standardized to achieve quality and operate as per detailed but flexible operating manuals. GMRVF has also prepared a video document for training the teachers on early child care.
- Children attending the early child care centers are provided with a health snack every day and regular health check-ups are also conducted for the children.
- The teachers and the volunteers are provided with regular trainings in joyful learning and early child care practices.
- Foundation gives utmost importance in linking parents with the early child care centres. Parents are regularly sensitized on different child care issues. They take part in all the programs organized in the centres.
Making the System Work- Support to Anganwadis
The Anganwadi at Thannir Bavi village near Mangalore used to suffer with irregular attendance of teacher and children and with poor quality of services. ICDS staff approached GMRVF with a request to strengthen the Anganwadi. GMRVF introduced innovative activity-based pedagogy and provided low cost play material which made children feel interested to come to Anganwadi. Regular parent teacher meetings were organized to increase accountability and the teacher started coming regularly. This also streamlined the provision of nutrition supplement to the children who were hitherto suffering from malnutrition. The attendance of the children reached 100% and new children were enrolled in a good number.