A house wife in Kupang District is like superwomen in her sub-village. She worked hard to get mothers where she lives to let their children receive early education outside home.
According to the UNESCO website, Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is more than a preparatory stage in assisting a child’s transition to formal schooling. It is essential for the entire development of the child. Apart from education, ECCE assists children in developing social, physical and emotional skills. Unfortunately, not every child has an opportunity to get ECCE.
Only a few children attend ECCE programs. As stated in the UNICEF website, those that are able to attend are usually from the richest 20 per cent of the population. Poor people who are often less educated believe that it is enough for young children to just stay at home and play with their siblings; even worse, they sometimes stay alone, which is not safe. In other cases the children stay with their parents while they work in the field or farm. This is not a child-friendly space, and does not offer stimulation for the children or opportunities for them to learn.
That is why World Vision in Indonesia is focusing on the development of ECCE programs in Kupang District, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province. One such group is called PAUD (Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini or Early Childhood Care and Development).
Perseverance Brings a Good Result
For a long time Sulu Village had no PAUD. The infants and young children did not have access to education outside the home. The children only played around the house while their parents were busy at work. As a young mother of three infants, Feny Irnawaty Ali-Ully realized that young children must also have good quality care and education outside the home. So, Feny and two other housewives, opened a PAUD Honinfomeni in an old church building in 2012. “Early childhood is the golden years for every kid,” she said. “My friends and I wanted all young children in our church to attend PAUD.”
It was hard to change people’s habit; asking the mothers to send their infants to PAUD. Fortunately Feny is a priest’s wife at Enokaka Church. “Every week after Sunday service, there was a meeting with the members of the church. So, I constantly mentioned the golden years and how important education outside home is for their children’s future.” Feny did not give up and she had to be patience too. “In this case, I had to use a bit of ‘violence’ in order to make the mothers aware,” she said with a smile. “I pushed them.”
Feny’s perseverance brought a good result. Finally, slowly, every mother who had an infant realized that bringing her child to pre-school was important. It can help foster social competency and emotional development of the young children. The mothers then come to PAUD Honinfomeni, accompanying their children. There is no registration at all, which makes it easier for them.
It is almost noon. A dozen children are playing happily in PAUD Honinfomeni, Sillu Village.One parent says, “I have to walk from home about 1 km every time I want to take my kid to PAUD because we have no public transportation, but I am glad because my kid can play with other infants and learn more from the teachers.”
Feny continued that she and her team have been assisted by WV Indonesia (WVI) Kupang Operational Office in managing PAUD since 2015. “I used to teach without guidance. After WVI came to our sub-village, they held several training programs for teachers on making a teaching guidance according to child growth, as well as designing and decorating class using local materials. The training is good and applicable in class. Thank you, WVI.”
~ Written by Regina Veronica Edijono, Editor, WV Indonesia