The field of early childhood development is rife with research establishing direct links between nutrition and children’s cognitive development. Furthermore, it has been shown conclusively, that the critical period of brain development is age zero to three.
At REAP, we understand that proper prenatal care and adequate nutrition for children are necessary support for the neurological and physical development of our future. In short, it sets children up for a good start on their path of education.
With this at the foundation, we started our monthly prenatal and early childhood development program. Pregnant mothers and mothers of children under five gather at our Center to learn about parenting and nutrition – both in theory and in practice. In addition to the workshops, nurses from Musha Health Center provide services such as vaccinations, family planning and vitamins.
Yesterday, REAP hosted 12 women in the first of these workshops (4 currently pregnant and 8 mothers of babies under five months of age). The mothers invested their time in learning about the importance of a balanced diet, cooked a meal, and ate — together. To make a complete meal, the families contribute food supplies such as bananas, potatoes and fish while REAP contributes vegetables from our garden. Parents are invited to attend until their children turn five and begin school. There is an opportunity for data collection and comparison here through a longitudinal study that compares academic and social-emotional performance of our participants’ children to the that of children who did not go through our program. If you are interested in funding, or running, a study of this sort please contact us for collaboration.