The Crèche Program

What is a crèche?

“Crèche” is a term used in India for a simple day nursery or preschool for young children.  The crèches we fund go way beyond simple:  the needs of the children we serve are too great and too immediate.
Our crèches are an intervention program free to poverty stricken children. Safety, nutrition, hygiene and health care must be in place before learning is possible.   While all this is occurring, they’re getting a developmentally appropriate education in a nurturing, caring, structured environment. The crèche concept in India … (continue reading below)

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The crèche concept in India springs from the work of Maria Montessori, whose ideas on education, especially as a way of educating India’s poor, had caught on in India decades before she came there in 1939 to work.

Today the Montessori model is followed in our crèches.  The head teachers are experienced educators with specialized training in the method, with its emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s psychological, physical, and social development.

Each of our crèches serves around 50 children, ages 2-5.

The crèches open at 8:00 am and close at 4:30 pm, six days a week, eleven months a year.  All crèches follow the same daily schedule and curriculum.  As children arrive they play until everyone’s there; blessing and breakfast are at 9:30, followed by brushing teeth and yoga.  A large group session is followed by smaller age-group instruction, with lots of free play.  Lunch, cooked on the premises, is next, and afternoon naps, snacks, and more free play complete the day.

Each crèche is lead by two certified teachers with bachelor degrees in early childhood education.   Tamil, the local language, is the medium at all schools, but children are taught in Tamil and English.  They learn the alphabet, songs, writing and counting.   Memorizing stories and traditional rhymes, dancing to popular music, drawing, and playing games are part of the daily routine.  Children practice good hygiene — washing hands, coughing on a sleeve, using the toilet, brushing teeth, frequent face and hand washing.

Each year, every child receives two new uniforms, a sweater, a pair of shoes and a book bag.

They also receive  two nutritious meals and a snack daily, this may be the only food they eat  all day.   A full-time nurse regularly screens each child for height and weight, and measures arm circumference; a rice belly can mask malnutrition but an arm tells the truth.  Children requiring further medical attention are sent to the health center or to area clinics which report their progress back to the crèche staff.

The  positive benefits from each crèche ripple throughout their community.

Older children, who were often kept home from school to care for younger siblings, are able to return to school.  Parents who work as laborers in the fields, stone quarries or forests know that their children are cared for while they are away at work.

Children who “graduate” from our crèches  are popular candidates for admission at better quality area schools because their sound foundation and potential are recognized.  Crèche graduates usually finish elementary school, most go on to high school, and by now, some are in or have already completed college.  As adults, they have the tools to provide for their own families and to contribute to their communities.

270 children a year, year after year. It makes a difference. With your help the crèches are breaking the cycle of poverty, bringing hope, and creating a chance for a better life.

Click here to see where the crèches are located in India.

Do you want to help or donate?  Click Donate Today  and be sure to use the drop down menu to select Sponsor a Child or Crèche.  Find more information and how to connect with us to be a Volunteer.