Early Childhood Care and Development Programme

The Early Childhood Care and Development, or ECCD Programme, is based on the understanding that the critical brain development of a child happens up to the age of seven. Healthy nutrition is key in children up to this age so that they can actively take part in, and advantage of, activities that aid in their physical, cognitive, language, and social development.
The various villages in which HCDI and its implementing partners work are clubbed into clusters on the basis of population, size, and location. An Early Childhood Care Centre, or ECC Centre, is set up within each cluster with the aim to become the space where children can partake in the activities of this programme. The ECC Centre is set up within a building offered by the community itself. In other cases, a low cost building is structured with the assistance of individuals within the community on a piece of land offered by the community.
All children up to the age of seven are brought to the centre daily, thereby allowing their mothers free time in which they can work. The older sisters who are generally responsible for the care of the younger children too receive free time in which they can attend school themselves. Each ECC Centre is equipped with toys and other play material, teaching aids, basic furniture, and cooking vessels and equipment. People from within the community are chosen and trained as pre-school teachers and assistants for the purpose of imparting knowledge and education to the children.
The children who come to the ECC Centre are divided into groups on the basis of age and together, they sing, play, and learn. Children receive emotional and social care along with intellectual stimulation and a chance at active learning. They also receive nutritional meals, materials for play and learning, as well as two sets of clothes each year. The ECCD Programme, by providing children with food, health-care, and protection, ensures that the basic rights of these children are protected, while also maintaining the children’s rights to affection, security, interaction, and basic, social and academic, education.