GRACE KIDS CRÈCHE
GRACE KIDS CRÈCHE
Grace Kids Centre, in Chellapuram on the outskirts of Kodaikanal, was the first crèche opened by the Betsy Elizabeth Trust in 1990, and it now provides day care for 50 children, aged 3-5. The annual running costs are funded by the ASHA for Education organisation, a partner of the Betsy Elizabeth Trust.
India Project teams of students and teachers have contributed to the development of this crèche by investing in many construction and renovation projects over the years. Projects have included the renovation of the kitchen and classrooms, painting of educational murals, the construction of a porch, a new classroom and border walls around the site, as well as the creation of a new playground.
Each year during their visit, the students purchase crèche supplies, providing blankets, floor mats and kitchenware, as well as sandals, sweaters, and caps to keep the children warm during monsoon season. The team also ensures access to healthcare by funding the crèche nurse, first-aid medication, and a weekly doctor’s visit for sick children.
Another important initiative is to provide the 5 year-old graduating children with a new school backpack, including notebooks, pens and the supplies they need for a positive start in primary school.
Of all the work invested to construct, renovate and provide, the most valuable experience of all is the interaction and the relationship between students and the crèche children. Each day is punctuated by activities that develop academic, social and life skills, as the children move from breakfast to yoga lessons, on to story time and writing, songs and dance, playtime, mealtimes, wash time, and even naptime. Our India Project students experience real life in the crèche as they accompany the little ones through their day, learning with them and from them. That bond is one they will cherish long after their time in India.
Since 2006, Grace Kids Centre has been fully funded by Asha for Education.
In 2008, Asha for Education built a new crèche building of brick and tin sheet.
From 2008-2012, the India Project team decorated the classrooms and added educational murals and shelves to make the classroom brighter and a more effective space for learning.
In 2012, students constructed a new brick classroom. Each and every brick carried down the steep descent to the crèche was counted as a step towards a happier crèche.
In 2013, the team set about constructing a porch, which would serve as both an outdoor space for learning and a playground shelter on rainy days. They also re-built the steps to give the children easier access to the playground, and the new water tank improved the water-harvesting system.
In 2014, new classroom murals depicted the seasons and taught important lessons about hygiene and water.
2015 brought a brighter look as the student team painted the porch and fence. The children were delighted to find a swing in the playground and new mattresses made naptime a treat. The teachers welcomed the pump that improved the water system.
In 2016, students started the heavy work of constructing a boundary wall on the site. Murals were painted on the playground walls to encourage outdoor play and ball skills.
The India project team celebrated in 2017 as the boundary wall was finally completed, and a new gate was installed to secure the site.