A to Z of Childhood
A la Julie Andrews in ‘The Sound of Music’ –
Let’s start from the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A, B, C
When you grow you begin with ECD, ECD
What was that again??
We explain in a minute. To launch our blog we decided to begin with the A-B-C of ECD, or Early Childhood Development. That’s jargon for what we do and are seriously passionate about, at Mobile Creches: young children under six.
The first nine months in the mother’s womb and the first six years outside of it are the most formative years in the life of a human being. The 20,000 odd genes, each, of the mother and father, come together and create a new life: the sensory functions of hearing and vision have taken baby steps even before the baby is
out, body weight doubles in the first three months, neurons explode exponentially as the infant starts to connect colour, voice, movement to her fundamental needs of food and comfort. And so on.
The atom, the gene and the byte are the building blocks of our world. The early years are the building blocks of a human life. His/her ability to learn, earn, stay healthy, make friends and cope with stress depends on the experiences of the early years. Fields as far apart as artificial intelligence, gender, demography, poverty alleviation, genetics, human rights, and pedagogy, for instance, are deeply connected to the questions of how babies learn, grow and think, what constitutes a conducive environment for children, what is the price the country pays for their neglect, what is the responsibility of the state towards its youngest citizens, and so on. Most importantly, it is connected to our identity as a people and our aspirations for a better tomorrow.
India is a young country and will continue to be so for a while. All eyes are turning to ‘emerging economies’, like India, because we will provide the labour force as well as the markets to consume what that labour has produced. We can estimate GDP growth rates, the price of oil, the inflow of FDI, and other variables, to understand the future.
The simplest way to look into the future, however, is to look at the present, of our children. In India, the young ones suffer the greatest neglect - at the time of greatest vulnerability and maximum learning. There are 160 million working women in the informal sector with no social security and maternity or childcare support. There are 60 million under-6 children in poverty and in dire need of care.
The Mobile Creches logo depicts our core constituencies: an unskilled female worker carrying a head-load, a school-age girl who wants to study, and an infant who needs care. Childcare services intervene in the lives of all three: they enable the young to blossom, their older siblings to go to school and their working mothers to earn a wage -nurturing three generations with one intervention, thus breaking the cycle of poverty.
We need to take action NOW, for, as the child would say,
“My Name is Today”.
#Mynameistoday, the Mobile Creches blog, will attempt to inform, provoke and connect, on issues of critical importance to our present and our future.
This is the beginning of a conversation and we invite you to be a part of it.
To know more about us, go to our website www.mobilecreches.org