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The early years of childhood are considered crucial for a child’s growth and development, since this is the time which lays down the foundations for learning, health, social behaviour and the kind of adult they will become. In the early years, children exhibit tremendous potential for learning and with optimal emotional, mental, social and cognitive stimulation, they can be led on the path to holistic development. At the same time, young children are extremely vulnerable and need protection, timely immunisation and care.
While parents working in organised sectors can avail of creche facilities to give care to their wards in their absence, children of women working in the unorganised sector remain largely ignored. This divide comes into sharp focus given the context of India’s rapid development and urbanisation that has led to changing patterns of migration and family support systems.
A large section of daily wage construction workers migrates every year with their children across states for work. While parents work on-site, the children are often left unsupervised and bereft of access to education. This makes them extremely vulnerable in terms of health and safety and they also miss out on regular education, leading to a huge lacuna in their all-round development.
Recognising this gap, the Karnataka Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board has taken the initiative to set up creches for children aged 6 months-6 years of workers registered with the welfare board. We have partnered with the Karnataka government as the Project Implementation Agency on the Shishu Palana Kendra (Smart Creche) Karnataka Project and have opened creches across Karnataka to ensure that the children of construction workers have a nurturing and happy childhood. The focus of these centres is to provide a safe childcare environment that ensures holistic development of children, across physical, cognitive, social and emotional parameters, and gets them school ready.
After careful geographical mapping of the state, we currently operate 83 smart creches with 83 teachers and 83 helpers, across Karnataka, with 2500+ children enrolled.
These creches meet critical parameters as per the National Minimum guidelines, such as proximity to labour camps, adequate space for minimum 30 children to play and sleep during the day, as well as a kitchen area for preparing fresh food, supply of clean drinking water, electricity, washroom and internet facilities for conducting smart classes.
Additionally, our Smart Creches have a phygital learning environment with cloud-based learning resources and in-classroom equipment that provides early stimulation for children below 3 years and age-appropriate preschool activities for children aged 3 to 6 years. Our creches also offer scripted curriculum as per NCERT guidelines based on the National Education Policy (NEP) framework, supplementary nutrition with 3 meals a day, regular health check-ups, timely immunisation and growth monitoring by empanelled doctors.
The teachers employed at the Creches are carefully recruited and given training under the Continuous Professional Development programme. Our school Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) equipped with Management Information System (MIS) and dashboards enables effective real-time monitoring of student attendance and progress. Parent and community engagement remain an ongoing priority for our team.
With a capacity to scale up without any compromise on quality outcomes, we support the government in its twin objectives of social welfare and human development, in order to create a nurturing early childcare support system where every child, regardless of their background, can learn, thrive and grow.
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