Thursday, 25 July 2019

India’s Independence Day is on the 15th of August and not the 14th of August!





India’s Independence Day is on the 15th of August and not the 14th of August!

Dear Educators and Parents,

We teach children about our independence history, (I hope all schools still teach this!) we teach them about the sacrifices made by Indians to help us achieve the freedom that we now enjoy, and to show our solidarity to each other as citizens of this country. I am sure we teach children about our Independence  so that they grow up valuing their past, savour and enjoy their present, and can make the right decisions about their future.

But then we send very mixed messages when we celebrate Independence Day on the 14th of August, just for our convenience! Did our freedom fighters see their convenience? Would we be enjoying the democratic life we now do, if they had thought about their convenience? Many schools celebrate India’s Independence Day on the 14th of August, forgetting that India got its freedom at midnight on the 14th, so it was 15th of August. Pakistan celebrates its independence day on the 14th, not India. So sorry to say but shame on those who look at their convenience and celebrate India’s Independence Day on the 14th, just so that they can enjoy a holiday!

What kind of a message are we sending to our children, when we see our convenience instead of our duty? What kind of a message are we sending to our children when we don’t give importance to the most important day of our country? And then we say that the young generation has no values, has no sense of belonging. But didn’t they learn this from us? Who was their role model?

This time Independence Day and Rakshabandhan fall on the same day. Rakshabandhan is the celebration of the bond between a brother and sister; blessings and promises are exchanged on that day between a brother and sister. Many schools are forgoing Independence Day celebrations this year so that they and their staff can celebrate Rakshabandhan. Why should it be an ‘or’, why can’t we celebrate both? It takes 10 minutes to hoist the flag, sing the national anthem and pay your tribute to country. Come on, educators, if education is why you have set up your school or are a teacher, then Independence Day and Republic day are your teaching moments. To teach children that we have a duty towards our nation, to teach children that if we want to enjoy the freedom that we have then it is our responsibility to acknowledge the country that has given us that freedom. Bond with your country and then every personal bond will be cherished.  

There are thousands of soldiers at our borders who don’t get to celebrate Rakshabandhan or other festivals with their family. They forgo all that to keep us safe while we get the freedom to cherish and relish our relationships and celebrations. What if all our soldiers saw their convenience?

As a proud Indian citizen and an educator I appeal to all of you, stand up for your country proudly every Independence day…15th of August…and look with pride at the tricolour and sing the national anthem with gusto. Then go home and tie a Rakhi or get a Rakhi tied! In years to come maybe Eid or Ganapati or Onam or Pateti etc. will be on the 15th of August, don’t choose, celebrate both…the sense of pride and freedom of your country and your personal, religious celebration. Jai Hind.

Dr. Swati Popat Vats

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Sab Bachho ka bhala…desh ka vikas!



Sab Bachho ka bhala…desh  ka vikas!



It takes a village to raise a child is a well known quote but I feel in India it should be- The village should raise every child! Because in India our private preschools cater to and do a fairly good job for the children enrolled , but that is just 20% of our child population. The other 80% do not have access to any early childhood education program or have access to but is not of the quality that it should be. Our country proudly runs the largest Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) or called Anganwadis. But these were established and remain primarily health and  nutrition centers.

What ails our ICDS program?

       Run presently as a health and welfare unit- education is missing.

       Anganwadi sevikas are not qualified in ECE but given training as and when.

       Too many other duties given to the sevikas and ECD  and ECE take a back seat.

       Inspite of a curriculum draft, our ICDS are ill-equipped to follow it due to lack of resources and training

ASAR report and Early Years Education-

Every year the ASAR reports laments the fact that our fifth or eight standard children cannot even read a second standard reading activity etc. This will continue to happen unless we focus on early years education because attendance at a quality preschool from age three predicted better outcomes in English, science, and math when compared with children that had not attended preschool.  Analysis of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) also shows that in most countries, students who had attended at least one year of early learning perform better than those who had not, accounting for students’ socioeconomic background (OECD, 2015, p. 326).

What is the importance and impact of early years education?

It helps children develop the Potential to think rationally, Persist with challenge , Use language, Suppress impulse, Regulate emotion , Respond  to others’ distress, Cooperate with peers, develop Cognitive and  social skills , develop Healthy habits. And hence, the vast differences in the early experiences of a child in the ICDS program and a private program make it unlikely that the two children will ever perform equivalently in school and later employment arena. Its time to invest in early childhood education, especially in our ICDS program to ensure that we take care of the other brain drain!

An oft asked question- is there any research to prove that investing in quality early childhood education programs help a country? The answer is, yes, read the Heckman report.

James J. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, a Nobel laureate in economics and an expert in the economics of human development. He uncovered a new way of looking at the full picture of the development of human potential. According to him there is too much focus on the development of cognitive skills where knowledge can be tested, rather than on the development of social skills—such as attentiveness, persistence and working with others. When social skills are combined at an early age with cognitive skills, they help create more capable and productive citizens.
Every child needs effective early childhood development to be successful, but disadvantaged children are least likely to get it. Professor Heckman has proven that investing in the early childhood development of disadvantaged children will produce great returns to individuals and society in better education, health, economic and social outcomes—not only saving taxpayers money but increasing our nation’s economic productivity. Everyone gains when we invest, develop and sustain the early development of America’s greatest natural resource—its people.

He highlighted the following benefits of ECE

       Reduced costs in remedial education, healthcare, and criminal justice participation down the line.

   Preschool helps develop the early building blocks of educational success – learning colours and numbers, understanding patterns, realizing that printed words hold meaning.

       It socializes children.

       Any language, hearing or developmental problems a child may have are picked up early.

America tried it and here is the proof- The Hechinger Report-

The Hechinger Report provided an update about data collected from the Perry Preschool Project, explaining first the history of the project: “Nearly 60 years ago, a handful of 3-and-4-year-old black children living in a small city outside of Detroit attended a preschool program known as the Perry Preschool Project. The children were part of an experiment to see if a high-quality educational experience in a child’s early years could raise IQ scores.”

“Led for the last decade by Nobel Laureate James Heckman, an economist at the University of Chicago, the Perry researchers have also looked at school success in terms of persistence to graduation, work success in terms of job retention and life success in terms of physical health and healthy relationships. Perry Preschool children did better on all of these measures than a randomly selected group of their peers who did not attend the preschool.”

 “The latest results from this long-running study, released on May 14, 2019, indicate that children of the now 50-to-55-year old Perry participants reaped the same benefits…67 percent of the adult children of Perry participants completed high school without a suspension, compared to just 40 percent of the children of non-participants.”

Other countries have also starting investing in early years education-

Countries like USA, UK, Australia, and many others have universalized Early Childhood Education. Most of these countries have made it free at least for 15 hours a week or at least one year of ECE Programs. They did this, as they wanted every child to benefit from early childhood care and education so that ‘where you are born’ does not decide ‘where you start from’. It means equal opportunities to every child.

Where you start from does not determine how far you can go-

Gaps in knowledge and ability between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers open up long before kindergarten, tend to persist throughout life, and are difficult and costly to close. Taking a proactive approach to cognitive and social skill development through investments in quality early childhood programs is more effective and economically efficient than trying to close the gap later on.

The rate of return for investments in quality early childhood development for disadvantaged children is 7-10% per annum through better outcomes in education, health, sociability, economic productivity and reduced crime. There’s a growing recognition of the value of investing in quality early childhood programs. It’s time to act on the evidence. The sooner we do, the more likely we will be to put our country on the road to greater prosperity that is shared by all.

If for every rupee invested we get back 7 rupees then how is it not economically viable? The problem is, in India, Childcare and Early Childhood Education (ECE) is traditionally viewed from welfare or education perspective, its time we viewed it from an economic perspective. A perspective that countries like USA, UK, Australia and many others have benefitted from.

At last years Education World ECE conference in Bengaluru, ECA has recommended Public private partnerships for upliftment of the Anganwadi program-

       Teacher training in ICDS and Balwadis, is completely ignored right now, needs to be outsourced.

       Curriculum management to be given to a private partner.

    Give some incentives in tax and rent to private partners who then ensure the smooth running of a number of centers regulated by a private body like ECA.

       Present model of giving balwadis and anganwadis to NGO to run also needs regulatory body like ECA.

       Common curriculum model and teacher training instead of the present fragmented level of operations.

The world is taking ECE seriously, its time India invested in its youngest citizens, who are not the vote bank but are definitely future nation builders. Let us invest in our children…all our children because how each one of them is brought up will impact all of them and us!

“I believe that each of us must come to care about everyone else’s children. We must come to see that the well being of our own individual children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people’s children. After all when one of our children needs life saving surgery, someone else’s child will perform it, when one of our children is threatened or harmed by violence in the streets, someone else’s child will inflict it. The good life for our own children can be secured if it is also secured for all other people’s children”
- Lillian Katz


I sign off by saying, to our dearest Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji that its time to adopt the slogan Sab Bachho ka bhala…desh  ka vikas!





Friday, 21 June 2019

School Bus Safety Advisory by Early Childhood Association




School bus safety advisory by Early Childhood Association









The above two school bus incidents in the newspaper caught my attention and it would be good if schools can follow these simple guidelines that will help make school buses safe for children.


School bus safety advisory by Early Childhood Association


Precautions to be taken in the school bus service-
  •          Parents should bot send kids by rickshaws or any vehicle with open doors as a school bus.

       ·            Always use the authorized school bus service.


General safety trainings for the school bus for both driver and lady attendants-

1.     It is the duty of the driver and bus attendant to check the school bus thoroughly before locking the bus or          parking it anywhere. 
2.   Both driver and bus attendant must know how to remove children using the emergency door in case of              emergencies.
3.   School must conduct mock bus fire drills every 3 months- with actual children.
4.   Driver and bus attendants must know what do do if a bus breaks down and how to keep children safe.
5.   Bus attendant to be trained to hand over child only to those that have the identity card issued by the                  school.
6.   Both the driver and bus attendants should not distribute any food etc. to the children.
7.   Both driver and bus attendants to be strictly advised against smiling, tobacco and drinking.
8.  Both driver and bus attendants should be strictly advised against watching any kind of indecent/porn                 content on their mobile phones.
9.  Both driver and bus attendants to be advised against using bad words/language.

10.Both driver and bus attendants to be advised against giving any one a lift in the bus.
11.Both driver and bus attendants to be trained in good touch bad touch and educated about the POCSO law.
12.Both driver and bus attendants to sign a zero tolerance policy of the school where all the rules are listed. 

Things required in the bus-
  1. Lady bus attendant from the school. (ideal 2 lady attendants).
  2. A mobile phone with all important numbers saved.
  3. Seat belts if it is a big bus.
  4. Or handle bars on the seat in the front.
  5. A first aid box with Band-Aid, Dettol, Cotton, tissues.
  6. A bottle of clean drinkable water, which is changed every day.
  7. A list of children that go by bus (in all routes of that particular bus).
  8. A sign in and sign out book- make parents sign when the child is handed over to bus attendant, then make teacher sign when the child is handed over to the teacher- make teacher sign while picking up the child from school and then make the parent sign once the child is handed to the parent. 

  • Name of child
  • class
  • signature of parent- Child handed over by parent
  • signature of teacher- child handed over to teacher
  • signature of teacher- child taken from teacher
  • signature of parents- child handed over to parent

 9. A book with the addresses and phone numbers of the children.
10. Phone numbers of the school, center head.
11.Some books from the library.
12.Enough newspapers to wipe vomiting or other such incidents.


Training Rules for bus attendant to follow-

  1. The bus attendant must be trained in all the aspects of bus safety.
  2. A sign in and sign out book- make parents sign when the child is handed over to bus attendant, then make teacher sign when the child is handed over to the teacher- make teacher sign while picking up the child from school and then make the parent sign once the child is handed to the parent. 

  • Name of child
  • class
  • signature of parent- Child handed over by parent
  • signature of teacher- child handed over to teacher
  • signature of teacher- child taken from teacher
  • signature of parents- child handed over to parent


3. She must check that the mobile phone given to her is in working condition and charged all the time.
4. She must check that the interior of the bus is clean at all times, no sharp edges or broken seats that            can harm the child.
5. The door of the bus must be kept closed during journeys.
6. While closing the doors the attendant must take care that the child`s hand does not come in the door.
7. She must check that the children do not put out their hands from the windows.
8. She must see the driver drives safely and does not break any traffic rules
9.  No speeding.
10.No changing the route.
11.She must see to it that the children are sitting at all times.
12. She must sit in such a position that he can keep an eye on all the children.
13.She must not eat in the bus
14. She cannot leave the bus or the children unattended at any time- whether to go to the loo or buy pan          or for any other reason.
15.She cannot leave the bus and go to. drop/pickup a child
16.Parents must come to the bus to drop and pick up the child.
17.She must not listen to any parent about changing the route of the bus even for a day.
18.She must not accept any money from them.
19.She must not take any cheque payments of fees or bus fees etc.
20.In case of a delay, she must inform the school about it.
21.In case of an accident or any emergency like a child is sick etc., she must first inform the school and           only do what the center head has informed.
22.In case of a bus break down she should never leave the children. 
23.If she is not carrying the phone then she must ask the driver to go and make the call, she cannot leave      the children.


While picking up the children from home-

  • She must make the parent sign in the sign in book.
  • She must see the child sits property and dose the door taking care of the child's hands.
  • After all the children have been picked up she must do a head count and check the number with the sign in.
  • On reaching school she will make each child get down without a mishap, she will check that all the belongings of the children have gone with the children.
  • She will ensure that all children have alighted from the bus.
  • Then she will lead them to the school and drop them to their class or hand them over to the center head.
  • She will make whoever takes the children, sign for the children handed over to them.
  • She will then give the center head the number of children that have come in each class in the bus. 


While bringing the children from the school
  • She goes to the class brings the children, she makes the teacher sign the handover in the book 
  • She must make sure that each child has his bag and bottle and in case of field trips also the cap.
  • She takes them to the bus, makes them sit and closes the door without any mishap.
  • Inside she does a head count, checks with the number in the book and only if they tally then she will ask the driver to start.
  • While handing over the child to the parent, she must first check the card of the parent.
  • She will make them sign out and then handover the child.
  • When the last child is dropped she will walk to every part of the bus and check if any child is left behind etc. 

         Dr.Swati Popat Vats
         President
         Early Childhood Association
         www.eca-india.org
         7506639870





Monday, 7 May 2018

The Great Indian Divide




The Great Indian Divide!

When it comes to preschools or preschool education in our country there are many divides: the ‘what to call it divide’, the rich and poor divide, the rural and urban divide, the parent and school divide, the central government and state government divide and the teacher training course divide! The future of preschools in our country can be great only once we bridge all these divides.

The first divide: what to call it divide- different names in different states?
Early childhood is divided into two areas, ECC- Early Childhood Care and ECE- Early Childhood Education. ECC is from inception to 3 years and ECE is from 3 to 6 years. First there is the divide about what to call it, preschool? Playschool? Early childhood education? Kindergarten? Early childhood development? Nursery school? Montessori school?

Preschool and playschool both have the word school, which in Latin may mean leisure but in India school is about academics, so it is better not to call it that as the pressure of learning to read, write and count will be forced down on these young babies. Fredrick Froebel, the father of Kindergarten, invented kindergarten but many don’t want it to be Froebelian! Montessori was the true mother of early childhood education but many don’t want it to be Montessorian! So we are left with early childhood education or early childhood development. Education would again bring the focus only on rote learning whereas development would bring the focus on developmentally appropriate Practice (DAP) Brain research and neuro science has proven that 98% of the brain develops in the first six years. So it is imperative that parents and teachers use this crucial period to teach the young brain ‘how to learn’ and not ‘what to learn’. When we teach children how to learn they learn to be independent thinkers, problem solvers and logic seekers. When we train their brains what to learn then we have only one result- rote learning, a brain that cannot think, understand or relate or conduct executive brain functions, it can only remember.


The second divide: central policy or state policy
Education is a concurrent subject in our country so the central ministry makes the policies and then the states have the right to draft their policies based on the same with changes etc.
But here comes the most important question early childhood comes under the Women and Child Development Ministry not HRD and at the state it does not come under the education department then why is it a concurrent subject? Why is each state redefining the policy and minimum non negotiable like minimum area required per child, teacher child ratio, safety and curriculum? Are we saying that the children in different states need different amount of space to sit? Culture and language can change but developmentally a child between the age of 2 to 6 years is on the same continuum whether in Delhi, Kerala, Tamilnadu or Maharashtra. Then why waste precious public money and reinvent the wheel in each state.
We have a well-defined policy for early childhood by the Women and Child Development Ministry and a well-drafted curriculum: National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Curriculum Framework. Not many preschools are aware about the same; it should be used as a textbook in early childhood teacher training courses. Which brings us to the next divide…



The third divide: the teacher-training course divide.

Unlike B.Ed. that is a common qualification across the country, to become an ECCE teacher there is no one common course. Different states have different courses, some are 2 years, some are 1 year, and some are ridiculously for 3 and 6 months! Some are after 10th standard, some after 12 standard and some are postgraduate. Its time to have a common course across the nation as these teachers would be laying the foundation of life skills and learning skills in young children.  Presently anganwadi teachers, private preschool teachers, balwadi teachers are all trained differently! There is also a need to define a common core teacher-training curriculum that should be implemented by all early childhood teacher-training courses in the country.



The fourth divide: the rich and poor and urban and rural divide.
At Early Childhood Association we are very worried about a ‘brain-drain’ that is draining the human resource of this country. The early years are most crucial as they are the brain development years, the foundation of all important life skills are during the early years, but because of lack of good early childhood centers, our ‘poor’ children are bereft of good early childhood care. So there is a marked difference in the quality care that a ‘rich child’ receives from a ‘poor child’, and it can be as simple as the number of words that these children are exposed to or the sensory stimulation that these children receive in the first 3 years, because that defines their future personalities and success. 80% of our population is growing up with inadequate early care and development whereas 20% are growing up with superb early care and development, how will our country progress when 80% of its population is already behind in their growth and development? Early Childhood Development – early education and care – makes a difference that persists well into adulthood. It shapes who you become. At that age, your brain is making new connections that will one day become the blueprint for your life. And at that age, if you don’t receive the right kind of care or learning, you will grow up with...  a few crayons missing from your life’s pencil box. And why should that happen to anybody?

The urban and rural divide is amazing! I have seen many great early childhood rural programs and some horrible urban programs but yet the urban programs are a ‘benchmark’ whereas the rural program are looked down just because they are not in English?! Many of our best practices are in our rural centers but don’t make the mark because of the rural tag. And many of our urban centers are interviewing children, making their lives stressful and miserable with exams, tests, overburdening with ‘class hopping’ and are yet called centers of excellence!



The fifth divide: the parent and school divide.
Today in every state parents and schools are at loggerheads for various issues, the most important being fees. Parents also face a huge challenge in understanding what kind of ‘preschool’ to choose for their children, which philosophy, what should it should teach their child, what should be the safety measures, what is the school’s and parent’s responsibility etc. there is an urgent need for the government especially the women and child development ministry to come out with some parent education guidelines, these guidelines should define what parents can and should not do in parenting, a simple example is spanking children, parents are unaware of the harmful effects of the same.
Why is it left to the parent to decide whether to give early childhood care and education to their children? Who is the school to decide whether to admit a child for early childhood care and education? Every child is entitled to early childhood care and education, this is explicitly given in the preamble of our National Early Childhood Care and Education Policy it states: It clearly states that – the government of India recognized the significance of ECCE through the amended Article 45 of the Indian constitution that directs that “The state shall endeavor to provide ECCE for all children until they complete the age of six years.” The RTE act also states, “with a view to prepare children above the age of 3 years for elementary education and to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years, the appropriate government may make the necessary arrangement for providing free preschool education for such children.”


The sixth divide: the quality divide.
What should be the quality of any early childhood center, whether government run, privately run or run by an NGO? Who is monitoring this? Presently it is a chaotic state of affairs. So why can’t we learn from the world? Most developed and developing countries have the following, which is the need of the hour as of yesterday for India.
1.     A National Quality Framework includes: a national legislative framework that consists of: the Education and Care Services National Law (‘National Law’) the Education and Care Services National Regulations (‘National Regulations’)
2.     A National Quality Standard consisting of seven Quality Areas: Educational program and practice
·         Children’s health and safety
·         Physical environment
·         Staffing arrangements
·         Relationships with children
·         Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
·         Leadership and service management.
·          
3.   A national quality rating and assessment process through which services are assessed against the National Quality Standard by Regulatory Authorities and provided with a rating from one of the five rating levels.
4.   A Regulatory Authority in each state and territory who have primary responsibility for the approval, monitoring and quality assessment of services in their jurisdiction in accordance with the national legislative framework and in relation to the National Quality Standard
5.     A national body—to oversee the system and guide its implementation in a nationally consistent way.

Keeping the above need in mind we at the Early Childhood Association strongly believe that having an affiliation board for preschools in our country would be a logical solution that would benefit all three stakeholders- children, parents and preschools. The government can still license the schools or take care of the NOC requirements but the curriculum, philosophy and other important aspects can be done by the affiliation/accreditation board of ECE. Early Childhood Association has now launched its ECE accreditation board and it will be rolled out with schools from August 2018
The process of affiliation/ accreditation is as follows:
¡  A self-study,
¡  An application (and fees),
¡  A validation visit to verify information,
¡  And yearly certification through written documentation.
¡  Upon receiving official accreditation, the provider receives a certificate that verifies status.

 With the recent spate of accidents, incidents and other safety related issues that have happened in preschools, it becomes the need of the hour to have an affiliation body that can accreditate the parameters affecting learning, safety and development of the child. Many parents are presently using preschool guide websites to find out the ‘review’ of the preschool but that is not a fool proof nor a realistic guide to the exact quality of learning and safety standard of a preschool.

For the future of early childhood development in our country, ECA strongly urges the Prime Minister  to look into these points  .

Over 40 percent of India’s children in the 0-6 age group are deprived of any early childhood care despite the Constitution and Parliament having recognized the importance of ECCE. Article 45 of the Constitution directs that “the State shall Endeavour to provide ECCE for all children until they complete the age of six years. The plain truth is that after more than 65 years since independence early childhood care, development and education in this country is still neglected. It’s time the country invested in taking care of its youngest citizens.

1.     Strong need for a separate ministry that focuses on early childhood care and education. (Our country is battling with crimes against women and children. If we want our national human resource, our young children to grow up as strong, healthy, and competent youth then it is time to invest in early childhood. Because there is too much work to be done regarding laws, policies, frameworks, trainings, support systems, health, nutrition etc. it’s time to dedicate a separate ministry to early childhood development, care and education. The ministry can look after pregnancy, birth, mothering, parenting, child and mother health, child health and nutrition, care and education of young children. The ministry can look into child rights, child laws and thus strengthen the generations that will grow up and take this country to become a super power Examples around the world- Australia has ministry for families and children, Singapore, has the Early Childhood Development Agency which is an independent agency charged with overseeing child care and kindergarten education.  In Scotland, governance is handled by the Ministry of Children and Young People.)
2.      The early childhood policy and curriculum framed by Women and Child Development Ministry at the center should be made non negotiable for all states to implement as the basic policy and curriculum, they can add points as per their state. This saves time in reinventing the wheel, as child development is not region, culture, or language specific. The language in which it is implemented can differ (example New Zeeland has a policy and curriculum in English and Maori the local language)
3.      Model early childhood development centers to replace present anganwadis to be set up in each state by the government. These centers must take care of parent education, pregnancy related health and nutrition, parent education classes, childcare, child nutrition and health and early childhood education.
4.     Be it Anganawadis, Balwadis, or private preschools the common core guidelines for Quality, safety, and curriculum should be the same. Example Head start program of USA. (Head Start was founded on the idea that every child -- no matter whom they are, what they look like, or where they grow up -- deserves the chance to reach their full potential.  Since 1965, it has given meaning to the simple truth that in America, where you start should not determine how far you can go.)
5.     Once early childhood centers mandatorily follow the curriculum guidelines in the national ECE policy then all educational boards to be advised by HRD ministry to sync their standard one curriculum to that of the ECE curriculum. Thus every child will begin with a strong foundation.
6.     The age to begin nursery and the age to begin standard one should be same across all states in India, presently it differs in many states. It should be 3 years by 30th September for nursery and 6 years by 30th September for standard one.
7.     There should be a common teacher-training course mandated for early childhood teachers across the country. Like B.Ed. is the common program for primary and secondary teachers, presently each state has a different course, course matter, and duration for the early childhood teacher-training program.
8.     Inclusive education and counseling to be important subjects in the teacher-training program.
9.     Assessment guidelines to be made clear and defined for preschools.
  
Young children are the other minority in our country, because they are presently just 20% of our population, have no voice, cannot vote so are being ignored when it comes to policy, laws, investments. But every business house, entertainment house, corporate company, uses young children for their benefit; crimes against young children are on the rise. Young children in our country are still battling with diseases, malnutrition, and lack of proper health facilities, childcare. Our country needs to set up child protective services to take care of them. We need to invest in our young children because they are going to grow up and become the youth of this country. It will be too late to take care of them then, because research has proven that the early years are when the foundation of all future growth is gained.


The author Dr. Swati Popat Vats is the founder President of Early Childhood Association India. As President of Podar Education Network she leads over 290 preschools and Daycares as founder Director of Podar Jumbo Kids. She is also National representative for the World Forum Foundation. She  is Nursery Director of Little Wonders Nursery (UAE) that has branches in Jumeirah and Sharjah.  She has received many accolades and awards for her contribution to Early Childhood Education and has been conferred the Fellowship of Honor from the New Zealand Tertiary College. She was the founder consultant for the Euro Kids preschool project in India and helped set up TATASKY’s children’s television activity channel- ACTVE WHIZKIDS. She is the founder expert on the world’s first video based parenting website www.born-smart.com that helps parents understand and nurture brain development in the first 1000 days. 
Swati has authored many books for parents and children and is a strong advocate of nature based learning in the early years and promotes brain research based teaching and parenting in her workshops across the globe. Swati tweets and blogs on education and parenting and can be followed on @swatipopat or www.kiducationswatipvats.blogspot.in 


Dr. Swati Popat Vats