Connecting with Parents and Community
With prolonged closure of schools and childcare centres as one of the containment measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, about 1.3 billion children around the world are at home with their families and caregivers. The responsibility for positive childcare is solely left to parents and caregivers with little to no human interaction with neighbours and communities and with constrained support from the government and the private sector. Their daily routines, including their learning and play interactions with other kids, neighbours, and caregivers in the community, have been severely disrupted. The challenge that faces most families and caregivers is how young children can be supported with distance learning approaches, particularly transforming the home as a safe learning space through online/digital and non-digital platforms. Another challenge is responding to the needs of families and communities with limited or no internet connectivity, or who are not literate or deem themselves not competent to ‘teach’ their young children: how can they be empowered to overcome barriers to learning in the home and supported with non-digital learning approaches? For this we developed simple resource packs of activities that don’t overwhelm or overburden parents/caregivers with use of easily available items from the house – kitchen items, everyday objects etc to create highly enjoyable activities. Many activities are such that don’t require any material objects – just a bit of imagination and rebuilding on childhood games, local games etc most of which have the elements of – demonstration, repetition, chorus, a set of rules, and bringing in an element of a couplet, a rhyme or a catchy jingle. E.g. Baba Baba Kiski Chaal – (observe the video) – examine for example the joy and the sense of great importance the child places on the activity at hand. Often her father forgets to follow the set “rules” of the activity – but the child keeps reminding him and ensures that the demonstrated process is followed to the maximum. Her energy, concentration and her all out attention on the activity/game alone irrespective of passers-by, irrespective of the environment, the narrow space, the wet lane – nothing takes her focus away from the activity. In placing their minds solely on this 5 minute activity-the child and her father develop a great bond, there is much laughter and smiles around, the child learns about animals and their walk along with the animal sounds that they both incorporate together. So much rich vocabulary is generated together with a number of skills aligned to the physical domain, language domain, psycho-social and cognitive domains. Enhancing parenting competence and confidence is a major goal of our capacity-building help-giving practices. We are helping family members acquire the skills to obtain resources, supports, and services to enhance parents’ competence and confidence to promote the development of their young children, including their social and emotional development, enhance emotional resilience to cope with the new normal in our society in the critical days of the pandemic and post pandemic as well.
Here is a glimpse - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nud33W1K2SI&t=13s