Early Childhood Care and Development
Early childhood is a critical period of development and how children are nurtured, their environment, and their sense of safety greatly impacts this development. Early experiences can shape us for the rest of our lives. It can impact health, capacity to learn, and relationships.
For the 420 million children growing up in conflict zones and 35 million displaced children, this important period is disrupted by violence and uncertainty. Children can experience toxic stress and trauma if they are exposed to violence and are forced to leave their home.
Amna’s early childhood programme, Baytna addresses these disruptions for children and their caregivers. In Baytna sessions, children play as a way to heal and to return to a sense of safety in their bodies. Baytna facilitators are trained to show children unconditional positive regard no matter what they bring to the session. We use art, mindfulness, dance and storytelling to help children make sense of their experiences.
At the core of the programmes are the relationships children foster with their parents, facilitators and other children. It is these nurturing relationships that can help to protect them from the uncertainty of their circumstances.
Recognising that refugee children can feel ‘othered’ and internalise this, we celebrate their identities and histories to help them develop a sense of self-worth.
Baytna has been cited as an example of best practice by Moving Mind Alliance, Nurturing Care Framework, UNESCO Global Monitoring Report for Education and Early Childhood Matters.