Innovative Practices in the Care of Children at Risk; Canadian and Argentine NGOs work together.

Project: Innovative Practices in the Care of Children at Risk; Canadian and Argentine NGOs work together.

Child Play International is a partner, together with five other Ottawa organizations, in a project being carried out, with Canadian International Development Agency funding, in a very poor suburban neighbourhood (known as San Miguel) of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The aim is to introduce desirable aspects of the Canadian “child- centred, play based’ model of early childhood education to two networks of child care centres in this area. The other Canadian organizations invoved are Andrew Fleck Children’s Services, Better Beginnings, Better Futures, Algonquin College (department of Early Childhood Education), Hawthorne Meadows Nursery Schools, and the Canadian Child Care Federation. The Argentine partners are a suburban university and two child care networks: a local Caritas branch, and an organization called El Encuentro which supports numerous day care centres.

The method is to prepare two “model play environments” and train local personel to make use of them to the best advantage of the children. In the second phase of the project the methodology and support will be extended to more children’s centres.

A Canadian Early Childhood specialist is presently in Argentina guiding the local partners and providing training for their educators. Two specialists from Child Play International have also,been on site, one planning the aquisition of larger wooden play equipment, and the other promoting toys to be made as hand-crafts.

Thus the major role of Child Play International in this project will be to stimulate local production by both men and women of outdoor and indoor play equipment and toys, and to have input into the choice of purchased items to be sent to Argentina as models., We hope to introduce, in the target area and beyond, as many elements as possible of a “culture of play” which will continue to improve!- the emotional and intellectual well-being of many Argentine children.

It can clearly be appreciated that this project will ‘promote all the aims of Child Play International on quite a large scale. The concept for all aspects of this project originated with Child Play International.