Lhakpa Quendren | Gelephu

Many parents in Sarpang said that a daycare centre has helped provide for their childcare needs, as opposed to having their children cared for at home.

Parents said that sending their children to the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centres help them develop social skills faster and become more independent, among other advantages.

Tika Maya, a 31-year-old resident of Samtenling, said that childcare centres allow both parents and children to engage in meaningful activities. “As my husband has to go to work, and I can engage in household chores.”

Daycare services have positively contributed to her daughter’s development and social engagement, enhancing her socialisation skills. “She practises speech and language skills even at home, and she speaks better since enrolling in the ECCD. My daughter shows a keen interest in attending daycare, even on the weekends.”

Parents believe that daycare centres provide an environment where children can spend quality time and are nurtured to become more mature and responsible individuals, while also preparing for a good education.

Samtenling ECCD centre

Sangay Tenzin, a 65-year-old parent from Samtenling, said that when children are raised solely at home, they encounter difficulties in interacting with others as they grow. He stated, “Children engage socially with peers and learn to build relationships with others.”

“As children grow, we expect them to become more responsible. They learn to spend extended hours away from their parents,” he said, adding that children who attend ECCD are better behaved and more socially adept compared to those who are cared for at home by their parents.

According to parents, access to a childcare centre enables them to engage in the local community, participate in social activities, and enter the labour market, particularly for low-income families.

Rinzin Lhamo, a 26-year-old resident of Norbuling in Serzhong Gewog, said that while her child benefits from quality preschool programmes, it also allows her to work at a tailor shop. “We have to manage everything that the current times demand.”

She expressed her concern about some parents resorting to giving mobile phones to their young children for easier parenting at home, stating, “I believe phones are not in the best interests of kids at a young age. We rely more on childcare services.”

However, despite the numerous benefits provided by childcare services, taking children to daycare poses a challenge for parents residing far from such centres.

For instance, some parents in remote villages, such as 40-year-old Yadu Prasad from Chhuzagang Gewog, have to walk a few kilometres to drop off and pick up their children each day.

Yadu Prasad from Chaskhar village, along with his friend, rides bicycles approximately 5 kilometres to take their children to the Chaskhar ECCD. He acknowledged the risks posed by the road’s large potholes but deemed it worthwhile due to the immense benefits offered by ECCD centres.

ECCD plays a fundamental role in equipping children with life skills, fostering good behaviour and manners, promoting emotional literacy, and developing pre-literacy and emergent literacy skills, among others according to ECCD facilitators.

Pema Lhamo, the ECCD facilitator in Samtenling, said that children were raised using different approaches compared to how their parents were raised.

“The programmes are designed to harness the potential of children from an early age, providing a positive impact on their learning ability. It also benefits disadvantaged children from remote areas,” she said.

Sonam Deki, the ECCD facilitator in Norbuling, said that children enjoy the company of their peers through playful interactions. “Children form circles of friends and learn to socially interact with people other than their parents.”

Facilitators also ensure that children are in a home-like environment, promoting their overall development.

“I also make sure to create a secure and homely environment for the children,”  Sonam Deki said.

June is observed as positive parenting month.