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As the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic continue to evolve, the education of children around the world has become a central issue. The end and beginning of the school years throughout 2020 have been filled with uncertainty for parents, teachers and students.
According to UNICEF, at least 40 million children worldwide have missed out on early childhood education in their critical pre-school year as COVID-19 shuttered childcare and early education facilities. The challenges are even greater for families living in poverty who have been hit the hardest by the global pandemic.
USAID identifies the early childhood period as “a critical foundational moment in human development.” Citing research from a variety of sources, USAID explains how brain development is at its fastest and most complex during a child’s early years.
The Guru Krupa Foundation continues to provide funding to Children International’s early childhood development (ECCD) program in India, and this year, their support has been especially critical. Once the government lockdowns were announced, staff had to quickly adapt.
A core element of the ECCD programming is to interact with children through group activities to help keep them engaged. Teachers were tasked with finding a way to continue this vital education. Asha, an ECCD teacher in Delhi, took to WhatsApp to connect with parents and devise a plan for continuing their children’s education. The social networking app is a common tool for communication among our families. Asha created two WhatsApp groups, one for 3-year-olds and another for 4-year-olds.
“Every day I share videos and one or two worksheets in these WhatsApp groups,” Asha said. “Along with that, I prepare and share voice messages for children and parents to complete worksheets.
“In this way, through the ECCD program, we are guiding the children with the help of the parents. Parents send photos of the work done by children, and I check the work and respond to them.”
The consistent support the Guru Krupa foundation allows Children International to provide is a source of stability for many parents.
“I was in a constant state of worry about my children’s education and safety,” Gayatri, mother of sponsored child Vansh, explained. “Children International’s ECCD program played a vital role for my family and helped me to be emotionally stable.”
“Children International’s ECCD program helped us a lot during this painful situation,” Priyanka, mother of sponsored child Anuj, explained. “They started online lessons with interesting activities to engage children in their studies and provide opportunity for continuous learning.”
By funding Children International’s ECCD program, the Guru Krupa foundation is helping enrich the lives of children by ensuring opportunities for learning and growth, even during a global pandemic.