Parents and guardians do not dread the drop-off moment whenever they leave their children in a brightly-lit room called the Day Care and Feeding Center in a village in New Lucena, Iloilo.
Not only the center serves a second home to the kids, it is also ably managed by technical-vocational students taking courses relevant to child care and health care and paramedical services as well.
Established in 2005, the day care project is being managed jointly by the New Lucena Polytechnic College (NLPC) and its partner institution, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
Gina Sophia Mondejar, NLPC school administrator, said the project was a result of the school’s desire to strengthen its social responsibility to the community.
While serving as a drop-off center for kids while their parents attend to work, the center has also become a venue for the hands-on training of tech-voc students engaged in health care courses.
NLPC is a school administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which offers courses on midwifery and health care services.
As a child-minding center, it helps lessen the burden of working mothers by providing qualified persons to temporarily care for their children when they go to work, Mondejar said.
As a day care center, it contributes to the development of the children’s well-being in their most crucial stage of development.
As a feeding center, it helps in the rehabilitation of severely malnourished infants and children.As a training laboratory, it provides opportunities for hands-on training of paramedical students in the different competencies required by their course,” she added.
TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva lauded the project for being innovative and functional at the same time.
“Remember that its clients are not only the children, but the whole community,” he said.
“Being in the hands of our well-trained tech-voc students, the love for learning and discipline will surely be instilled in the children,” Villanueva added.
At present, the center has 31 students aged two to four, according to Hiyasmin Lozada, the center head.
Learning activities are geared towards child psycho-motor, intellectual and social development. It also serves as a drop-in (child-minding) facility for children aged zero to three years old, and had three undernourished preschoolers as recipients of its supplemental feeding program.
“NLPC offers its day care program and child-minding services for a very minimal fee, with a 50% discount for children and grandchildren of NLPC personnel, Lozada said.
From 2005 to 2007, KOICA provided funds for the center’s operation and deployed five Korean volunteers composed of a preschool teacher, dietitian, nurse, pharmacist and community development worker to augment its service delivery.
Later on, NLPC took over the reigns and assigned Lozada as center head. Presently, she has with her one day care teacher and one clinical instructor to supervise paramedical students as they perform different competencies like babysitting, personal hygiene and meal preparation as course requirements.
In support of the Millennium Development Goals, NLPC now focuses on good nutrition and child morbidity and mortality rate reduction by implementing a holistic approach in its supplemental feeding program.
It emphasizes not only improving the nutritional, health, emotional and social behavior of recipient children. It also encourages the participation of the challenged families.