The Women and Child Development Department has decided to pilot a project for admitting children in the 2-3 age group to anganwadis in the State.
The project will first be launched at Ithikkara in Kollam district. All anganwadis under the Ithikkara Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) will admit students in the 2-3 age group along with preschool children in the 3-6 age group.
Department officials said many parents inquired about letting two-to-three-year-old children stay in the anganwadis. This was especially the case if both parents were working and there was no one to take care of the children. While some anganwadi workers and supervisors did permit the children, others did not. Also, such children could not be registered in the anganwadis.
Children not admitted to anganwadis were left in day-care facilities, and were likely to continue there for the next few years. However, if children in the 2-3 age group could be admitted to anganwadis, they would stay on there.
Department officials said a separate admission register would be maintained in anganwadis for children in the 2-3 age group.
At present those below the age of three were provided Amritham ‘nutrimix’ as take-home ration. However, when these children attended the anganwadis, more funds would be needed to provide them three meals similar to other anganwadi children. The Ithikkara panchayat had agreed to set aside more funds for this supplementary nutrition programme, they said.
The project will be implemented after anganwadis reopen as part of the phased unlocking of public activity. Directions will be given to the Child Development Project Officer to make preliminary arrangements for rolling out the project then.
Depending on its success, the project will be extended to other districts this financial year.