Anganwadi centres in the district being run under the ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) scheme have met with success in strengthening impact of early child education (ECE) initiative.

Teaching activity at the centres has prompted parents to send their children with eagerness to the anganwadi centres.

Of the 1,808 anganwadi centres in Tiruchi district, 242 are in urban areas, and the patronage is more in rural areas.

At present, there are 1,642 teachers, according to official sources.

On a periodic basis, anganwadis that are patronised well are upgraded as nursery schools in coordination with the School Education Department.

In Tiruchirapalli District, 20,723 boys and 20,201 girls are benefitting from the ICDS. But there is still scope for increasing the number of beneficiaries, a senior official said.

Every year, the district administration reviews the performance of the ICDS implemented through the Ministry of Social Welfare, and sets a target of an average of 25 children per anganwadi centre. In hamlets where there are more number of children, new centres are sanctioned.

Under the scheme, a child is given 130 grams of weaning food.

If the child is severely malnourished or underweight, the quantum is 190 grams, which is estimated to contain 665 kilocalories.

Other children till the age of six are provided with noon meal. The children are given eggs thrice a week, and on the other days they are provided with cereal-based food.

Supplementary feeding is provided for 300 days a year.

Poor parents in villages who usually go out to work, initially send their children attracted by supplementary feeding, and begin appreciating the educational services, the official said. Children aged up to five are provided food and given play material at the centres. They derive the benefit of educational inputs during their stay at the centres from 8.30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Universally recognised as a crucial input for overall development of the child belonging to disadvantaged section, the positive impact of ECE scheme was felt on the holistic development of the children which paves the way for their enrolment and retention in the primary grades, according to the official.