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Nurturing early years development

Presiding speech by Ms. Anju Cherian at TRIO Tots Annual Day Celebrations 2016

It gives me immense pleasure to be here this morning. It is an honour to be in this temple of learning, where the future generation of our country is nurtured.

My speech today are for the parents and the teachers of TRIO Tots, as the children present are too young to comprehend my words fully. My aim is to leave you all with some thoughts to ponder upon, because it’s the parents at home and teachers at school, who influence and shape the children’s lives and prepare them for their future.

Having children does not make you parents or enrolling them in your school does not make you their teacher. Nurturing them makes you their parents or teachers. I call nurturing the secret ingredient that enables children to grow physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, culturally, and spiritually.

Children can be provided with healthy diet, adequate shelter and medical care. However if they are not adequately nurtured as well, their health and development will generally suffer.

So what do I mean by nurturing?

By its nature nurturing is a creative and spontaneous activity that can take many forms. Some parents, anxious to do their best, worry that they may not be adequately nurturing their children, or that they may not be nurturing their children the "right way". Some parents presume that nurturing is completely the teacher’s responsibility.

Any activity parents or teachers engage in with their children which shows that they are loved, will be an effective act of nurturing. Children will enjoy the time spent and parents or teachers teach lessons without creating anxiety or stress in the child.

The greatest gift you can give your child is your time, because when you dedicate your time you are offering a part of your life that you will never get back. And believe me in this case it is well worth it! More worth than your time given for anything else. Now let’s talk about the concept of time.

To be really fair today's parents talk quite a bit about spending quality time with their children. Some parents believe that if they've spent an hour of "quality" time with their children, they've done enough. This hour is usually focused on an enjoyable activity: watching television, going out to eat, going to the movies, or going to Disneyland!

However quality time is not just that. What I mean to say is that while it’s okay to take your kids to Disneyland, it isn’t a substitute for good parenting.

Parents need to be there- they need to be a witness to their children’s lives. That means creating good times, but more importantly, it means being an active participant in your child’s everyday struggles.

For example: helping a child who gives up much too easily to learn to try again, teaching a child who is quick to anger how to channel his intensity into something positive. This, of course, requires time, patience and a willingness to participate in a long-term process. This probably calls for a fair quantity of your time as well.

Early years matters!
There is a popular perception especially in India that a child starts learning only after they are 3 years or 4 years or even later. And it’s the latter years when the child is in high school or university, the most important years. However latest research studies show that it’s the early years that matters.

By early years what age group am I referring to?

I am talking about the first five years, further being till 8 years. The first five years of a child's life are fundamentally important. They are the foundation that shapes children's future health, happiness, growth, development and learning achievement at school, in the family and community, and in life in general.

Recent research confirms that the first five years are particularly important for the development of the child's brain, and the first three years are the most critical in shaping the child's brain architecture. Early experiences provide the base for the brain's organizational development and functioning throughout life. They have a direct impact on how children develop learning skills as well as social and emotional abilities.

Children learn more quickly during their early years than at any other time in life. However for this learning to happen, they need proper nurturing, quality and quantity time from their caregivers.

On that note, let me wish you parents a wonderful journey with your children and remind you that the days might be long, but the years are short, so enjoy every moment of it.

And let me remind you teachers that if you see unlimited possibilities in your children, you will be creating unlimited opportunities for the world. So never forget to engage these young minds, facilitate their thinking, listen to their questions, encourage risks, support in their struggle and cultivate their dreams.

My sincere thanks to the management of TRIO Tots, to have invited me here today, to be a part of your Annual Day celebrations and to witness these wonderful performances that your very talented and creative students will be giving today.

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