Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has directed the creches (preparatory schools) to begin tracking every child’s physical development every month.
The administration has come up with the maiden guidelines for the implementation of the National Creche Scheme in the union territory.
“Monitor the growth of the child by taking height and weight on monthly basis, a proper record shall be maintained at the creche. If the child is underweight then inform the parents immediately and consult a doctor,” an official document, accessed by The Kashmir Monitor, said.
The guidelines said that at least three meals should be provided to the children on daily basis, which includes a morning snack, lunch (hot cooked), and an evening snack.
In addition to the diet, the guidelines said that the creche should remain open for eight hours.
“Most parents work eight hours a day. The timings of the creche can be flexible based on the working hours and timings of the parents. . Therefore the creche preferably should open for 8 hours to 10 hours for at least 26 days in a month,” it said.
The administration also directed that the creche should be located near the residence of the children.
“The creche should be located near the homes of children or the place of work of the mothers (at a walkable distance of I km). Mothers breastfeeding their babies can conveniently come to feed their babies. Parents can be contacted in case of emergencies,” the guidelines said.
“As far as possible the creche environment should be akin to the child’s home atmosphere and should also reflect the lifestyle of the community,” it added.
The government also asked the creches to introduce biometric attendance for the safety of the children.
“Biometric Attendance of all children should be taken in the morning on the child’s arrival as well as at the time when a child is picked up,” it said.
The guidelines said that the creche shouldn’t function from workers’ homes and should have at least two rooms and a large hall with a roof of at least 10 feet in height.
Regular health check-ups, banning sharp objects and chemicals, CCTV surveillance, and restricting the number of children to 25 have also been stressed in the guidelines for creches.
Constitution of three committees including Creche Monitoring Committees, District Level Monitoring Committee, and UT Level Monitoring committee have also been ordered for monitoring the working of creches in the Union Territory.
Paediatrician Dr. Suhail Naik told The Kashmir Monitor that dietary care and various other factors need to be considered for the healthy growth of a child.
“The diet is an important constituent for the growth of a child. we have WHO recommended guidelines, which need to be followed to ensure healthy growth of a child,” he said.