Laya’s Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) center is a small cozy room with a suitable and enabling environment for highlander children to learn and play.
The classroom walls are paneled and the floor carpeted. The classroom is decorated with colorful learning materials and toys for children. It also has sleeping mats for the children.
There are seven children in the classroom. Some of them are playing with toys and some drawing.
The ECCD center at Laya was started in 2017. The center was established with support from the government.
This year, 28 children have registered and only seven children are coming for the center. Classes start from 9 in the morning till 3PM.
ECCD facilitator, Damchoe Wangmo said that she teaches drawing, reading, writing, indoor and outdoor play and coordinates song and dance.
Children bring their own pack lunch and Damchoe Wangmo teaches them the etiquette of taking food. She also trains children to sleep makes them sleep an hour a day.
Damchoe said that though more number of children has registered for the center only a few drop by daily. It is because parents do not bring them to the center.
Parents however claim that they are not getting time to drop children at the center because they have other household works and sometimes they go for cordycep collections.
Kinley, 33, from Pazhi village said that her four-year-old daughter is going to the center.
She said that her daughter has learnt many new things from the center. Now she can write and read and she can sing and dance.
“We feel secure to keep our children at the center because facilitator takes care of them,” she said, adding that as a result they get time to work in the field and do household chores.
Similarly, Chimi, 35, from Nyalu, has a a five year old daughter who also goes to the center.
Chimi said that her daughter can gain knowledge before she goes to pre-primary school.
“She can meet new friends and play with them otherwise they will remain idle at home.”
Laya Gup Lhakpa Tshering said that the center has benefited both parents and children in the gewog.
Parents he said could focus on work while the children could learn new things.
The Member of Parliament (MP) Tenzin from Khatoed Laya constituency said the center is safe for both children and parents.
MP said that there was many cases where children were kept locked up in the house while parents went for work or collection of cordyceps and the children had got harmed.
Laya has a population of around 1,000 and 300 households.
Laya has two ECCD centers, one at Laya and one at Lungo village.
Dechen Dolkar from Laya