On February 6th UNICEF Thailand launched a campaign to improve early childhood development. The campaign “Best Start: The First Six Years of Life are the Golden Years for Children” shall raise awareness of the unique chance of child development during this early period.
During the first six years a child’s brain develops faster than during any other period of life and its early development will set course for any future evolvement. During this period the base for a successful education in the future can be laid. Stimuli during these years positively influence the child’s brain and motor skills development.
The importance of the first six years in a child’s life is still too little known in Thailand and improving this situation is a highly efficient way to improve the children’s lives and to support a positive development in Thailand’s education system.
During these years a healthy diet is key to a child’s development and malnutrition can have adverse effects for the future life. General undernutrition as well as a diet lacking only specific nutrients can cause problems in body and brain development.
Students enter DEPDC’s kindergarten classes as young as 4 years of age. At that time we start to support our students to enable them to develop to their full capabilities. DEPDC provides its students with education on three different levels. In the morning, our students receive academic education and in the afternoon, our students receive either vocational training or life skills training.
One important part of life skills training is the education about a healthy diet that covers all needs of the human body. Students will learn what their body needs and how to prepare meals that provide the necessary nutrition. An important part of the vocational training is knowledge about agriculture. In our school garden students have lessons on organic farming practice and all students can grow their own vegetables on a small patch of land. The vegetables the teachers grow are used for DEPDC’s lunch program and the vegetables grown by the students themselves can be brought home to supplement the families food supply.
The lunch program is a very important part of DEPDC’s work as it is sometimes the only proper meal our students will get a day. Often students are waiting for lunch time as it is their first food of the day. The lunch program helps to provide all our students with the nutrition needed to enable them to develop to their full capabilities.