New Daycare Program for Community Children
Early childhood stimulation supports healthy brain development.
August 13, 2017 - El Salvador
Early childhood is an extremely important period for cognitive and psychosocial development. Motivated by the lack of a quality early childhood education and childcare for our surrounding community’s youngest children, we thought of an idea: why not open a daycare center for these young children?
A fundamental part of our NPH mission is to help the communities where we live in El Salvador; among other forms of outreach, we provide food to people in need and our children serve food to the homeless in a local soup kitchen.
In order to gauge the need and interest for a daycare program, we did our research. The study showed that 113 families fill our neighboring communities. Our team interviewed a total of 66 families with children between the ages of one and six years old, to gauge parents’ interest and need to enroll their children in a childcare center. The total population that qualified to join the program was 54 children.
Thus in January 2017, the CAI: Centro de Atención Infantil (Center of Childhood Attention) was opened.
In December 2016, 12 boys and girls enrolled; at the beginning of the school year in 2017, this number grew to 19 girls and boys. Currently, we care for a total of 37 children: 21 children from the community, 8 girls and 13 boys, between 2 and 7 years old; 16 children are children of ‘Hermanos Mayores’ (those who grew up at NPH and now lead independent lives), 8 girls and 8 boys between 1 and 7 years old. Our daycare center has the capacity to serve sixty children.
The Salvadoran Institute for the Integral Development of Childhood and Adolescence (ISNA) approved our staff for this program, which includes a director, two teachers, two educators, one Physical Education teacher and one psychologist. The assigned staff has been working in NPH for more than four years, and they now provide specialized care to the children who are part of the childcare center, with an aim to improve their future academic performance.
The children receive early childhood education following the ISNA curriculum, which spans health and nutrition, values, recreation and sports. The oldest of the group also attend kindergarten at our onsite school. They are learning how to read and write, along with the other children in the class.
There are many other benefits the children receive in our home, including healthcare – each child receives a check-up from our staff in the clinic, and they also receive primary medical attention including emergencies. (i.e. fever or an accident during school hours). To stay healthy and rested, they take a shower and a nap after lunch. Three times a week, they practice sports in the soccer field so they can develop their mobility skills. We also provide a balanced diet of breakfast and lunch as well as two snacks per day.
This center is also opened for Hermanos Mayores, those who grew up in the NPH home, who now have their own families with children between ages one and six. Daily, transport picks their children up in Santa Ana and drives them to our home, which is located around 20 minutes away from Santa Ana. The children are taken back to Santa Ana after classes end at 3:30 pm. This benefits the lives of the Hermanos Mayores because they have time to work while their children are cared for in the same home where they spent their childhood.
We are pleased that we are expanding our reach into the community and helping more children. Also the parents are relieved to know their kids are safe, sound, and learning during the day. We believe that this is one more way of fulfilling Father Wasson’s dreams for his children; we are just keeping up with his legacy. Seeing the children smile and enjoy their time at our home fills us with joy, and we are sure their futures will be better because of it.
Communication and Project Coordinator