The older children looking after the younger ones are a quite common phenomenon is most of the developing countries. In the child to child programme which is a new concept emerged from the Nursery Teacher Training (NTT) Correspondence Course. It is emphasized that the older children look after the younger ones not only at home but also in the schools.
This child to child concept is not a new concept as far as India is concerned. It could be seen that the elder children especially girls in most of the villages carrying and looking after the young ones at home when the parents are away either in factories or in farms. This has become an inevitable activity especially after the breaking down of joint family system in India.
The child to child concept even in the schools used to be followed during the ancient Gurukula system of education where the Guru used to teach a few who are called Monitors; in turn they used to teach the rest of the children.
The Objectives of Child to Child Programme
The child to child programme aims at popularizing the concept elder children looking after and passing on the information to the younger ones on simple health aspects which includes preventive and curative. It also aims at stimulating the preschool children to develop good health habit and food habits. It encourages the older and the younger children to activity participates in the health programme of the home and the community. When the children are educated properly and they are conscious of health and hygiene and good food habits, it will become easier to bring about changes in the homes and the communities.
Procedures to Implement the Child to Child Programme
If it is to become a scientific and popular activity both at home and school, it is essential that we make the child to child programme an integral part of the school curriculum. In every class the older children should be made responsible for looking after the younger ones. They should be encouraged to bring the children to the school regularly. They should be made responsible for looking after the cleanliness of the younger ones. They should also see that the younger-ones eat right type of food and free from illness. All the children in school should be taught the simple medical care and simple treatment.
The child to child programme should also be included in the Teacher Training curriculum so that they in turn will encourage the children when they become teachers. The existing curriculum of health and hygiene at the teacher’s training institute should become a practical oriented curriculum. The teachers should encourage the practice of health and hygiene and also encourage the elder ones to help the younger ones in simple health and hygiene activities such as cutting the nails, comb the hair, putting on the dresses, cleaning after the outdoor play, cleaning the hands before eating etc.
To conclude, it could be said that child to child programme, a new innovation in the field of child welfare, health and education could easily be adapted and practiced at every level of education without much special preparation or financial commitments; specially at the preschool level if we could implement this child to child programme when the children are in the formative period we could conceive of a healthy child and healthy nation.