Selecting Approach

SECTION 4 OUTLINE
MAKING A CHOICE ABOUT APPROACH:
A Menu of Options

Within this section we present a description of the basic early childhood programming Strategies that have been developed successfully in a number of Majority World contexts. We have also provided a set of Templates, one for each of the Strategies presented. In each Template there are a set of questions that need to be asked in relation to that Strategy, along with a discussion and some recommendations on how the questions might be answered to ensure a quality program.

What General Strategy (Or Mix of Strategies and Approaches) Should Be Chosen?
In most settings, a mix of complementary Strategies and approaches will serve better than a choice of one particular Strategy.

What Strategies and Models or Approaches Are Available?
The menu of possible ECCD strategies and models and variants of models is extensive and rich. There is no one right way to create a program. If your discussions begin with the menu of possibilities rather than with a particular model, the arrangement that is best for a particular setting will emerge during the course of project discussions.

The multi-pronged approach suggested by the complementary Strategies allows for the development of support at all levels– beginning with the child, and extending outward to the family and community, to the society at large, and finally to the international arena.

Strategy One–Deliver a Service Directly to Children
This Strategy focuses directly on the child and can include activities for children from the time the child is born through the transition into the early primary grades (birth—eight years of age). Programs focused on maternal health during pregnancy are also appropriate.

The immediate goal of this Strategy is to enhance the child’s overall development. The objectives of these programs include: child survival, child care,socialization, overall child development, preparation of children for school, and child rehabilitation.

ECCD PROGRAMS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

ECCD AT THE WORKPLACE

ECCD PROGRAMS OFFERED IN CHILDREN’S CENTERS

INTEGRATED, MULTI-PRONGED ECCD PROGRAMS ·ECCD BRIEF LINK: Integration in ECCD: What Does it Mean?

DISTANCE EDUCATION

BENEFITS AND CAUTIONS OF DIRECT SERVICE

Strategy Two–Support and Educate Caregivers
The broad objective within this category is to create awareness of the importance of the caregiver’s role in relation to supporting children’s growth and development, and to change caregivers’ attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Ultimately these programs should empower caregivers in ways that will improve their care of and interaction with young children and enrich the immediate environment within which children live.

MATERNAL SUPPORT

HOME VISITING

PARENT SUPPORT/PARENT EDUCATION GROUPS

SIBLING EDUCATION ·TEMPLATE #5 LINK: Child-to-Child Programs.

CAREGIVER TRAINING

BENEFITS AND CAUTIONS OF CAREGIVER SUPPORT PROGRAMS

Strategy Three–Promote Community Development
In the schema that puts the child at the center and moves outward from there, the step beyond the family is the community. The creation of an early childhood program can be part of a larger community development process.

BENEFITS AND CAUTIONS OF THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT APPROACH

Strategy Four–Strengthen National Resources and Capabilities
This Strategy focuses on approaches that develop institutional and human resource capability. These include the training of all those who provide support to the front-line deliverers of services (i.e., those working directly with children). Also included are the people working with parents and with the community.

Human capacity development means providing appropriate training to program and administrative staff and supervisors, as well as direct service providers. Furthermore, to support programs over time it is useful to develop in-country research capability through national and international training and exchanges. The strengthening of national capacity also includes the provision of appropriate materials, equipment, and vehicles, the upgrading of physical facilities, and the introduction of new technologies.

HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY BUILDING

  • Add programs within the school that address children’s needs.
  • Change the administration, organization, and rules in schools.
  • Change the curriculum and pedagogy.
  • Incorporate local culture into the schools.
  • Create a more open system.

BENEFITS AND CAUTIONS OF STRATEGY FOUR, STRENGTHENING NATIONAL RESOURCES AND CAPABILITIES

Strategy Five–Strengthen Demand and Awareness
This Strategy concentrates on getting information on the importance of the early years to particular audiences, to raise their awareness, to increase the demand for ECCD services, and to create an enabling environment for young children and their families.

The potential audiences include policy-makers, politicians, health providers, primary educators, financial planners, journalists/media people, Women in Development professionals, businesses interested in philanthropy, and the general public, as well as families and communities who could benefit directly and immediately from ECCD programs.

SOCIAL MARKETING

LINKING TO INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES

Strategy Six–Develop National Child and Family Policies
Ultimately to make ECCD programs sustainable over time it is necessary to have national policies which support families and young children. Policies need to be in place that encourage family-sensitive social service delivery systems and employment.

The kind of activities that can be undertaken in this category of complementary Strategies include analyzing current policies, getting involved in the process for creating new policies if that is required, and/or facilitating the implementation of current policies that are supportive of children and families.

POLICY DEVELOPMENT

  • Internal influences.
  • International influences.

POLICY REVIEW

Strategy Seven–Develop Supportive Legal and Regulatory Frameworks
This Strategy is related to Strategy Six, but takes activities related to policy a step further. It provides another level of specificity by addressing the laws and regulations that are put into place once a policy is developed.

It is not sufficient for a government to have a policy stating that it is going to support the provision of pre-school for all its children. The legal and regulatory mechanisms put into place help define what that means, and how the policy will be implemented (e.g., through government provision of training to all people working in a given kind of ECCD program, through the setting of standards for childcare centers, through taxation which secures funding for the program, etc.).

REVIEW AND MONITORING OF CURRENT LAWS AND REGULATIONS

DEVELOPMENT OF NEW LEGISLATION> Strategy Eight–Strengthen International Collaboration
The trend toward globalization, understood in its economic, social, and cultural senses, is having an increasing impact on individual government policies, laws and regulations, and programming related to young children and their families.

Associated with globalization has come the creation of international initiatives which, if subscribed to by a sufficient number of nations, take on the character of international law. Another way in which international influence has grown is through the expansion of cross-national organizations, including the United Nations family, bi-lateral and multi-lateral donor agencies, foundations, and international NGOs. Many of these organizations have created collaborative frameworks to support advocacy, planning, programming, and financing of ECCD programs.

INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES INTERNATIONAL NETWORKS

REGIONAL NETWORKS Summary
There is no single model of ECCD provision. The reason for this is that there are a multitude of sectors that touch children’s lives–health, education, social services, community development, agriculture, and others.

There are a variety of cultural contexts which influence childrearing practices and the goals that are set for children. There are political agendas that determine national priorities. There are varying skills and knowledge brought to ECCD programs by local practitioners, and the list goes on. Nonetheless, there are some commonalities that cut across these situational variables that allow us to offer some more or less generic programing Strategies that can be adapted locally.

Choosing Appropriate Strategies
You now have an understanding of the range of early childhood development strategies that have been implemented in various settings. The task for you at this point is to choose which of these you will implement in your project. Your choice will be based on several factors.

CHILDREN UNDER THREE YEARS OF AGE
CHILDREN THREE YEARS OR ABOVE
CHILDREN IN THE TRANSITION YEARS (SIX TO EIGHT)