Learning Through Play (LTP) is a strong tool that works in various settings and in many countries to bolster early childhood care, Andrew McDowell, director, Hincks-Dellcrest Children's Centre, Canada, said here on Wednesday.

At the valedictory of the three-day Asian Regional Meet on Learning Through Play (LTP) Calendar, organised here by the Bala Mandir Research Foundation (BMRF), Mr. McDowell said LTP was part of the solution. Early Childhood Care was among the strongest investments that countries could make. Without making a strong economic case, it would not move forward.

Mr. McDowell said that one of the most effective things that could be done for ensuring good care in early childhood was to teach parents the importance of play. In future, the tasks would be to increase the research on LTP and jointly, with a number of nations, see what would be the best use of LTP.

Maya Gaitonde of BMRF said the rationale was that every child had a right to an informed parent. The involvement of parents in the child's growth and development begins even before the child goes to school. “There are no additional materials or charts that the parent will have to use, just things that are in the house – pots, pans, fruits, vegetables.” Over the years, Bala Mandir has worked on translating the LTP calendar into a number of regional languages and co-operated with the government to push the agenda of early childhood care.

S. Anandalakshmy, president, BMRF, said a collective initiative – of parents, and children — was needed to take the message of LTP forward. Calling for a “little bit of freedom,” she hoped that parents would relax the intense supervision and monitoring that parenting has lapsed into in many cases.

Earlier, Vijay Nagaswami, psychiatrist, launched the website www.parentingredefined.com that provides information on a range of issues – parenting, Network for Information on Parenting, Bala Mandir's projects, documentation and publications, resource material and services available. The first copy of the publication “Insights into Childhood from a Tamil Tradition” produced by Bala Mandir Research Foundation as part of a Culture Series, was launched on the occasion by educationist Mrs. Y.G. Parthasarathy.

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MeetSeptember 24, 2010