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Holistic and Humane Pre-Primary Provision: Pre-Primary Provision Should be Locally Integrated and Promote Health, Nutrition, and Social Protection

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2014 Pages: 180-191
Caroline Archambault
Date Published
February 2014
12 pages
This overview of early childhood development (ECD) services reviews the status of ECD in underdeveloped countries and argues that future developments should involve the integration of local ECD services with the promotion of health, nutrition, and social protection.
Large development agencies, such as the World Bank, are promoting ECD programs as an important means of achieving equality of opportunity, particularly in poor countries. Well-designed preschools can teach skills to improve children's readiness to succeed in school and adopt numerous social-protection interventions that include nutrition and health practices. ECD services are most effective when they are created by local leaders and conducted by local teachers familiar with the needs of geographically and socioeconomically marginalized children. Efforts at local adaptations to reach neglected places and excluded children are described for the Maasai of Kenya living in the community of Elangata Waas. In addition to expanding the coverage of ECD services to remote, marginalized, and disadvantaged children, another major obstacle to the provision of ECD is ensuring the quality of programs offered, particularly regarding holistic and multifaceted services. In the informal Maasai nursery school, teachers treat their students as their own, which means they are concerned with their social, emotional, and physical development and protection, in addition to the development of scholastic skills for increasing school readiness. Teachers actively monitor, prevent, and intervene in situations where their students' emotional or physical protection is being compromised by fellow students by the environment, or by parents. Some of the pressing constraints on ECD that need to be addressed include teachers' salaries and improved training in teaching skills and priorities in age-related child development. 7 listings for further reading