Early Childhood Care & Development
In 2016, with the support of our partner Help Refugees, we set up an Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programme for refugee children aged 0–6 called Baytna, which means ‘our home’ in Arabic. Many refugee children have experienced violence and prolonged periods of insecurity and stress, all of which can have a profound impact on their development. With our ECCD programme, we strive to give these children the opportunity to learn and play and to develop healthy and secure relationships.
Through our ECCD programme, we are helping children learn:
• Reading and writing
• Numbers and counting
• Motor skills
• Emotional connection and secure attachments to their parents
• How to express feelings confidently through creative and sensory play
• Healthy coping mechanisms for the future
Our approach throughout all our interactions is holistic and family-centred. This can include work surrounding marital relationships and parent-child attachment. By empowering families, our specialists help to foster resilience that carries on beyond our sessions.
The success of Baytna partly comes from our work on attachment between a parent and child. Our sessions include working with parents to alleviate stress, addressing trauma and supporting families in staying safe and healthy during transient and uncertain times. All this makes for an environment where children feel less stressed, experience joy and benefit from quality interactions within the group.
In December 2017, we secured the support of the Open Society Foundations, and we are now working to extend the reach of Baytna. Later this year, we will partner with the Municipality of Thessaloniki we to open a refugee day care centre for our ECCD programme. We will also run a specialist ECD training based for Greek education professionals, in partnership with The Government of Athens.