Parvarish Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program
The Parvarish Program is a holistic nurturing early childhood development model used by Eagle Eye Educational Institute. There are 3 pillars to the Parvarish program. The first pillar consists of educated but unemployed women from isolated villages to work as ECD teachers. The second pillar consists of the parents of the young children, who are expected to support in a few ways. Not only do parents need to provide fees and ensure children are physically present, they also need to provide a nourishing environment in the home to supplement the learning at the center. The final pillar is the children themselves. Historically, ECD programs were based on two pillars – parents and teachers; however, the program has been modified to also include the children as the third pillar by encouraging them to participate in activities that they are genuinely interested in as opposed to forcing activities onto them. The program prepares children from an early age for success at the primary level and beyond, while simultaneously generating income for educated women in the villages.
ECD Teacher Training and Centers
Eagle Eye has a 5-year strategic plan to open ECD centers throughout various villages in Chitral to provide quality Early Childhood Education through the Parvarish Program. With the support of Eagle Eye Educational Institute and its partners, graduates of the ECD Training Programs are encouraged to return to their villages and open ECD centers for local children. Six ECD centers will be opening in 2019 by teachers who attended the first Intensive Early Childhood Development Program organized in the Seen Lasht village in July 2019.
The 2-week program, organized by Yasmin Khan from Toronto, Ontario, trained 15 women from various villages in Early Childhood Development. The program focused on how to better engage 3 to 5 year-old children in an active learning environment in order to enhance their social, physical, emotional, cognitive, creative and moral development. Participants received classroom and hands on training, focused on learning about child development and the brain, preparing effective teaching aids and learning poems, stories and other creative and artistic activities in order to make learning interesting and engaging for children. Trainees presented practical lessons whereby encouraging the sharing of best practices and helping each other to enhance their capacities.
Parents are a critical stakeholder in Eagle Eye’s early childhood education programs. In their role, they not only support by physically bring their children to ECD Centres, but they are also expected to enhance their children’s experience at home by passing on the values in nourishing family environment. They themselves need to understand how children grow and learn.
Eagle Eye has had the privilege of working with the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre (now SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health), a Canadian Institute in Early Childhood Development. Eagle Eye gained permission to translate its Learning Through Play (LTP) educational resources into Urdu and use them in ECD Centers in Chitral. LTP is an International Project aimed at improving the health and well-being of children and their long-term mental health development.
‘The objectives of the LTP program are: (a) to provide parents with information on the healthy growth and development of young children (birth to 6 years), focussing on the physical, intellectual, linguistic, and socio-emotional aspects of development; (b) to teach parents play activities that enhance child development; and c) to promote attachment through active parental involvement in their child’s development.’https://www.sickkidscmh.ca/Home/Resources-And-Publications/Learning-through-Play/Learning-through-Play.aspx
In earlier ECD trainings, Eagle Eye introduced the LTP materials to both parents and ECD trainee teachers. As its long-term plan, Eagle Eye will encourage and assist teachers of the Parvarish ECD centres to use the LTP materials when meeting with parents, and to make additional presentations to their respective local communities. An excerpt from LTP material stats:
Current research shows that early childhood experiences have a major impact on brain structure. These early experiences literally shape the way children learn, think, behave, and interact with others throughout the course of their lifetime. Parents around the world want their children to develop this capacity to thrive. As such, it is important that parents and caregivers understand the essential role they play in contributing to the promotion of holistic and healthy development in their children from birth to 6 years of age. In addition, healthy child development may reduce the risk of adverse developmental outcomes and the need for more costly interventions later in life.Learning Through Play (LTP)
In recent years, there has been spike in mental health issues and suicide cases among the youth in Chitral. Eagle Eye is in the process of planning an annual youth conference to highlight and discuss these issues, as the topic of mental health has not gained much attention historically within the region. The media has attributed poor academic performance as a key factor in recent suicide rates, as the lack of associated knowledge and skills results in unemployment.
Eagle Eye has also run English Language classes for secondary school students in the past.