Plan to Assess Mental Health of Kindergarten Caregivers

Plan to Assess Mental Health of Kindergarten CaregiversPlan to Assess Mental Health of Kindergarten Caregivers

The plan to assess mental health of kindergarten caregivers and managers will commence from the beginning of next year (starts March 21, 2015), said Arezoo Zokaeifar, managing director of children and kindergarten affairs, at the Social Welfare Organization (SWO).

The modules for the plan are being developed and will be completed before the end of the calendar year, she said.

The plan envisages mental assessment of kindergarten caregivers and managers twice a year. “If the assessments indicate that a caretaker or manager is not qualified for the job, the SWO will take measures to dismiss them from daycare centers,” the official said.

Given the overall impact of caregivers’ mental state on different aspects of child development “we want to ensure that they receive positive attention, which is essential for their emotional and social development besides academic progress,” ISNA quoted Zokaeifar as saying.

She also pointed to the continuous training programs for caregivers and administrators throughout the year, including primary and supplementary training and refresher courses and said “our main goal is children’s integrated and all-round growth in all areas, including physical, psychological and spiritual.

In this regard some important measures have been taken such as “standardization and uniformity of kindergarten educational content.”

At present there are 17,000 kindergartens across the country with uniform educational component, including 10 workbooks with religious content.

 Effects of Neglect

The impact of neglect on a child may not be apparent at an early stage except in the most extreme cases. However, the effects of neglect are harmful and possibly long-lasting. Its impact can become more severe as a child grows older and can encompass multiple areas, including, cognitive, psychological, emotional and behavioral development; therefore, as many children spend most of their time in daycare centers, the psychological health of caregivers is very important.

Research shows that the first few years of children’s lives are crucial and sensitive periods for development. During these years, neural synapses are formed at a very high rate. After the age of 3, synapses start to be “pruned,” and certain pathways that are not used may be discarded. Studies supporting the idea of a sensitive developmental period show that maltreated young children and infants suffer from greater developmental disabilities than those children who were maltreated later in childhood.

 Adequate Number

In addition to caregivers’ health, the adequate number of them in kindergartens is also important to prevent neglect. A caregiver who is responsible for high number of children may not be able to spend adequate time with each of them.

In an ideal kindergarten, caregivers should work with individual children, small groups, and the whole group at different times during the day.

To do this the ratio of caregivers to children shouldn’t be high. The ideal ratio is 1:10 for junior children and 1:12 for senior children.

There is no law in the country about the ratio and therefore parents themselves should consider what a suitable ratio is when they enroll their children in daycare centers; by this they can help prevent any adverse impact of caregivers’ neglect of their children.