Early Childhood Care (Blog) (5)
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The earthquake that shook Nepal a week ago rendered several children homeless and orphaned. Even though the media was stormed with the miraculous survival of a four month old baby, countless other children have been displaced and distanced from their parents. NGOs have rushed to help the people with the immediate focus on survival, attending to the injured and cremating the dead. But what about the child who is crying for his mother, what about the boy who was playing with his father when the building crushed and what about those young ones who still babble, seeking their mother’s bosom for comfort and care.
Numerous such children have been affected by this calamity. Recovering from the disaster may be a lifelong journey for some of them. Even though the physical needs of the child may be met right now through various social sector organizations and state initiatives in coming months, yet his or her psychological growth and well-being would be impacted because of this disaster.
Quite often children who have suffered this trauma in an early age tend to exhibit symptoms such as insomnia, flashbacks, anxiety, panic, dismal mood, and thoughts of suicide, a deep sense of loneliness or abandonment or profess excessive amounts of hyperactivity and energy that may seem difficult to channelize. These behavioral indicators are a reflection of the tragedy they have suffered.
HOW DO I RESPOND WHEN I SEE A CHILD AFFECTED SO DEEPLY? WHAT DO I SAY TO HIM OR HER?
Just be natural! Hug the child if you want to, shake hands if you wish to, smile at him or her with a genuine heart and convey to them that you care. Children, when they have suffered something so deep and traumatic respond with the same uncertainty and confusion as an adult may, except they lack the means to communicate their pain coherently in words.
The need of the hour is to understand the plight of these children, their incommunicable suffering and to offer them a space of comfort and security. It is impossible to undo the trauma they have suffered but as individuals, every child who experiences such devastation seeks safety, understanding as well as presence and experience of adult affection.
Disclaimer: Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog writer.
As you are well aware, the United Nations is in the process of defining a post-2015 development agenda. This 15-year agenda will be launched at a Summit in September 2015, which is the target date for realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The post-2015 agenda seeks to place people at the heart of sustainable development. Many of children’s holistic needs are included in the Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Agenda and the Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals, most notably health care, education, and protection from violence, exploitation, and abuse.
In a letter sent to international leaders this week, Lumos Founder and President J.K. Rowling noted that while there is widespread agreement that the post-2015 agenda should “leave no one behind”, as currently conceived, the Sustainable Development Goals are leaving families – and children living outside of family care – very far behind. They are not mentioned once.
Indeed, caring and protective families are central to a children’s health, development, and protection. It will be extraordinarily difficult to achieve targets in health, early childhood development, education, and protection without a concerted effort to engage families.
Services delivered to children do not work in a vacuum. They are most effective when they consider the vital role of family in children’s lives and well-being.
Representatives of the United Nations Member States will be meeting in New York next week to share perspectives on how the post-2015 goals and targets should be framed.
Join J.K. Rowling and Lumos in a call to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals include families – and children living without them. We believe that it is absolutely within our reach to significantly reduce the number of children outside family care, including a reduction by half of the number of children living in institutions by 2030.
We have launched a social media campaign that mobilizes our supporters and targets key decision makers who can influence and initiate change. We are asking supporters to directly appeal to key influencers through social media by Tweeting and asking them to consider families in the post-2015 development agenda using the hashtag #leavenoonebehind. More details about the campaign and how you can get involved can be found here.
Together, we can ensure that no one is left behind.
Policy and Advocacy Director
This year, Indians all over the world celebrated 67 years of Independence. Speeches were delivered in states as well as in communities by local leaders highlighting freedom struggle and notion of independence. Children as well as adults celebrated with kite flying, radio stations played patriotic songs while TV channels showed uncountable movies and coverage of war of independence. Some of you would have also read the story covered in daily newspapers while some would have opted to travel as this year’s Independence Day holiday marked an extended weekend, so why not whiz away with family or friends for a brief weekend getaway? All is well, since all is being done in the right spirit of independence of one’s own thought, desires and actions.
But have you paused for a moment to reflect on the sanctity of the term independence. When you look around yourself while driving to your college or workplace or buying groceries from market, do you look at the child who is the rag picker, or the one who performs nautanki at the traffic signal and begs for alms. Or do you know people in your own family who employ a young girl or boy and make him do household chores while their own sons or daughters wile away their time. Considering this is all happening real-time, here and now in our society then whose independence are you truly celebrating? Can you be independent without emancipating the person next to you and further next to you?
This simple fact can be explained by the theory of domino effect. The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then causes another similar change, and so on in a linear sequence. So if you emancipate your maid, or maid’s children, or the rag picker, or the car cleaner’s family or the office peon’s boy, you inevitably have initiated the domino effect!
When Pt. Nehru gave his famous speech tryst with destinyhe outlined for us a path to recovery, reconciliation and reconnaissance. Considering that August 12 was the International Youth Day and India is the youngest nation with 43% of our population being in the age range of 13- 35 years by 2020, each citizen of independent, urban and educated India has a moral responsibility towards ensuring that the cake of independence is divided as equally as possible, that the rights of every child are duly taken care of, be it reservation for economically weaker section in schools, right to free and compulsory education or abolishing child labor practices. All of these initiatives are only a success if they are supported and facilitated individually and independently.
After all, everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way and this is the beckoning call for our nation’s growth and our society’s well-being.
Written by: Ms. Sugandh Gupta
Early childhood care and education is rifled with interest as well as concern for both academic scholars and general public at large. In the social milieu of India, a child’s birth is prescient by parents deciding upon their preferences for playschools and public schools. This process is now ordained in the contemporary urban culture characterized by double income, nuclear families.
As universally understood, education is about creating a system that allows the child to grow in the desired state without holding him/her it within societal conventions, rules, ritualistic practices or mechanistic methods of pedagogy. As per Census 2011, India has more than 158.7 million children under the age of 8 years. The first three years of life are a period of incredible growth in all areas of a baby's development. A newborn's brain is about 25 percent of its approximate adult weight. But by age 3, it has grown dramatically. Hence, the thrust on acquiring learning in school is essential but family is the first social environment that the child experiences. This environment holds the key to several opportunities of learning and development for the child itself.
Few everyday possibilities are suggested here that parents can practice to help children get off to a good start and establish healthy patterns for life-long learning.
1. Babies produce lots of sounds and noises and one of the best ways to connect with them is to be imitative i.e., reciprocate similar sounds and noises to them. We may dismiss this as baby talk but these sounds are treated as conversations by children and they feel that they are being heard and acknowledged. As parents we just fostered the sense of personhood and self-identity in our child.
2. Use fun and creative ways to introduce your child to his or her environment: Everyday things at home can be used to teach children. For instance, tomato can be used to teach them color red. A glass of water can inform them about warm or cold temperature. Let the child meander through spaces and learn through curiosity.
3. Sing, dance and teach: Babies are energetic, so why not channelize it well? Singing and dancing tap into the sense organs of children which are uninhibited in early years. Jump joyfully, squeal with them, and use your hands or things like bottles, spoons, fruits, etc. to teach them numbers. Encourage them to explore, touch and feel everything they see and hold. This will also enhance their motor skills.
4. Let your child be the scientist: Children enjoy being strident by playing with objects, and see what happens while throwing them on each other. They may even hold a fly without feeling an ounce of fear. Let them be. Be around them to ensure they are safe but also allow them to explore at their leisure. Support them but do not finish the task for them. For instance, if your child is building blocks but the top block keeps falling because of wrong positioning, then patiently show the child what he or she may be missing and wait until they do it themselves. Their joy and confidence will be insurmountable when they successfully accomplish it. If they don’t put the block in the most appropriate manner, do not worry. It is fine! If the child is happy with what s/he has accomplished, as parents we should not be too fastidious. For now, perhaps it may be imperceptible to us. Ensure that the child finishes his task completely with unfettered guidance and support from you. This shows your child’s intellectual ability, creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
These are some of the creative and engaging ways that parents can use with children to explore their own natural world.
Written by: Ms. Sugandh Gupta
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