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Did You Know?-Early Childhood Development Supplement

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th May 2012 03:00 PM

Types of ECD centres in Uganda

Types of ECD centres in Uganda

By Vision Reporter

Early Childhood Development is a process that enables children under the age of six to develop their full cognitive, emotional, social and physical potential. Investment in young children would bring long-term social change and sustained realisation of children’s rights.

Early stimulation activities, which prepare the child for the school, cost less than the high dropout and repetition rates of the early years of primary school. They also support the child’s potential development to become a well-prepared adult for life.

Investment in the young child represents the best way to break the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Young children are focal point of community development – ECD programmes mobilise the whole community and they promote cultural values and beliefs.

Sometimes communities can come together to create programmes and structures and synergy to meet the needs of young children.

Child friendly spaces can be created for young children in situations of emergency; these become the starting point for community mobilisation and participation. Below are the different types of the common ECD centres in Uganda:

Nursery Schools/Kindergarten
This is a preschool educational institution for children, the one we are most familiar with. It takes in a number of activities such as singing and learning about the environment for example plants. Playing, activities, experience and social interaction are regarded essential aspects of developing skills and knowledge. They are highly commercialised, with parents parting with fees higher than boarding school.

In many urban Ugandan schools, nursery school is part of the preschool system of early childhood education. In some of these schools, it is compulsory; that is, parents must send their children to nursery school before joining primary one. It comprises baby class, middle class, and top class which take in 3, 4, and 5 year olds respectively.

Nursery Schools/Kindergarten
This is a preschool educational institution for children, the one we are most familiar with. It takes in a number of activities such as singing and learning about the environment for example plants. Playing, activities, experience  and social interaction are regarded essential aspects of developing skills and knowledge. They are highly commercialised, with parents parting with fees higher than boarding school.

In many urban Ugandan schools, nursery school is part of the preschool system of early childhood education.  In some of these schools, it is compulsory; that is, parents must send their children to nursery school before joining primary one. It comprises baby class, middle class, and top class which take in 3, 4, and 5 year olds respectively.

Community Based ECD Centres
These emphasise community ownership. The parents help in running the centre by raising funds to pay for the caregivers’ welfare and actively participating in making play material for the children.

The community-based ECD centres can be an important focal point for delivering comprehensive services to young children while enhancing the capacity of caregivers, families, and communities to support young children’s development. When done well, these programmes can be sustainable because of their emphasis on fostering community ownership.

The parents send their children to ECD centres. At these centres, children five years and younger play, sing and interact with other children – all of which are important aspects of healthy early childhood development.

It is a supportive adult-child relation, learning through play, a mix of contextualised and decontextualised learning. Adjustments to interests and needs of the child are in the context of the group in this activity-based learning, learning should be in the mother tongue. There is emphasis on language comprehension and production.

Day Care centres
A Day Care Centre is an ECD centre that provides services for children below three years. Such a centre provides fully institutionalised services for half day or full day.

The children are taken care of by a person other than the child’s legal guardians, typically performed by someone employed by management. Day care is typically an on-going service during specific periods, such as the parents’ time at work. It may be established and owned by an individual, group of people, community, organisation or association. It may or may not be for profit.

The centre should be located within a safe and secure area conveniently placed for parents to drop and pick their children easily. Activities for early learning, brain stimulation and proper physical growth should be provided following the learning framework for 0-3 years developed by the National Curriculum Development Centre.

Integrated services such as health check-ups, immunisation, de-worming, growth monitoring, vitamin A supplements should be provided in partnership with the nearest health centre. Birth registration should be provided in collaboration with subcounty or town clerk within which the centre is located.

Breastfeeding mothers should be encouraged to take off time during day to come to the centre to breastfeed their babies. Parenting education on positive child rearing practices should be provided to parents.

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