Programmes : Early Childhood Education and Nutrition
The first six years of life are characterized by rapid physical and mental growth and development. They are critical in setting the path for a child’s future. This future to be bright, young children are dependent upon others to provide healthy environments. The Indian government has the largest program in the world to cater to this need through it’s Ïntegrated Child Development Scheme’ (Now called Anganwadi Services). It is a very valuable program since it combines both health and nutrition and early education within the program. PIDT works through the Anganwadi Teachers Training Center and Snehalaya and Swasthalaya to create school readiness for children.
PIDT organizes an Anganwadi Teachers Training Center for the Government of India. The concept of Anganwadi (courtyard home) targets atleast one center in every village, where children from 03-06 years are taken care of both about their nutrition and education. Each Anganwadi has a teacher(Sevika) and a helper( Sahayaka) and PIDT trains them on the job. Their responsibility is to give innocultations and also advise teenage girls, pregnant and lactating mothers on nutrition and overall health . So far PIDT has trained over 3000 Sevikas and 2000 Sahayika’s. The program has reduced child mortality and given an overall care to infants and also improved school readiness. The outcomes are specially useful for children of underpriviledged and low-income families as the same social determinants—such as community, income, and discrimination—are associated with education and health outcomes.
PIDT organizes a kindergarten for children before they enter into formal schooling. Various education pedagogies are being experimented with so that the children are able to express themselves to the fullest and their curiosity and love for learning is accentuated.
PIDT is developing a herbal garden for educating the children as well as preparing basic medicines for preventive and daily use. The children are also being taught to grow vegetables so that they are conscious about nutrition and they experiential knowledge of growing their own food.