A heartily-hot welcome

In August this year, the IKEA Foundation and UNICEF want to start several activities to support caregivers and parents in learning how to best care for the children and improve the facilities in early childhood development (ECD) centres like the PAUD Bina Putra IV we visited today in Leuwiliang.

Selfies for everyone. Picture by Christian Mollerus.

In sticky humidity we were greeted with a lot of warmth and noise. After a heart-warming welcome song, we had the chance to do gymnastics exercises together with all the kids, which made us feel even hotter (and even more welcomed!).

One or two of the kids started crying when they saw us, because the last foreigners they met were doctors who gave them injections. But shortly after this, everybody was in the room and painting picture of mangoes happily.

Happy again: “Our visitors are not doctors coming to give injections!” Picture by Christian Mollerus.

At the start of the painting session one girl started crying because her parents didn’t have enough money to buy a crayon for her. But other kids helped out and so her picture got the best rating: five stars.

The mango painting is nearly ready. Picture by Christian Mollerus.

Most weekdays, 25 kids aged between four and six come for two hours to the ECD centre. Their parents pay a small contribution for each child, from which the ECD centre teachers are paid. The motto for teachers in ECD centre in this region is:

1) Honesty

2) Patience

3) Surrender to God

Without this motto, and their enthusiasm, it would be even harder for them in this job!

The ECD Leuwiliang PAUD Bina Putra IV from outside. Picture by Christian Mollerus.

I’m now handing over to IWitness Steffi Albert, who will tell you about another ECD centre our team visited.

The ECD Centre PAUD AISYIYAH Baiturrahman was founded in 2002 and, thanks to donations from the community, they moved to a new building in 2006. Here, 30 kids are taken care of in two groups, one with kids aged from two to four years and the other from four to six years.

Strangers are first eyed critically, but later the ice breaks. Picture by Steffen Gumpfer.

When we arrived the group of the older kids welcomed us with a song on the big playground in front of the group rooms. From the very first moment, we were excited by the hearty, hilarious atmosphere and positive energy between the teachers, parents and kids.

The group of older kids welcome us in their classroom. Picture by Gibthi Ihda Suryani.

The small kids get an easy start because parents can join them during the opening hours. This way, the parents also benefit from the play and education service for their kids.

The small kids get in touch with their guests in a playful way. Picture by Gibthi Ihda Suryani.

What we especially kept in mind was the fact that the ECD centre tries to make the most out of the simplest materials for a creative education: the caregivers use leaves or coloured sawdust for handcrafting.

Simple material like coloured sawdust is not just used in a creative way. The kids also learn a lot about their home country. Here they just coloured the island of Jawa. Picture by Stefanie Albert.

In between activities, the caregivers pay attention that the kids wash their hands regularly.

The kids learn about the importance of hygiene. Picture by Gibthi Ihda Suryani.

The IKEA Foundation is committed to creating better lives for children and their families, while UNICEF provides the necessary experience. Together, they can give children the best start in life.