Learning Through Play
What is LTP?
The future of human civilization depends on today’s children being able to achieve their optimal physical and psychological development. Majority of the world’s children are born in low-income developingcountries; and while strategies to improve their physical growth (i.e. nutrition supplement programs) have received attention, interventions aimed towards their psychological development remains relatively ignored.
In view of a recent research finding which suggests that 75% of human brain development comes after birth, and that humans have brains that are dependent on environment input, there is a growing need to provide programs that will facilitate brain growth. Though brain development starts in the womb, the early years of life have a huge impact on how the brain will grow and absorb information. Babies are born with the need for human contact and stimulation. At birth, a baby’s brain has about 100 billion brain cells, called neurons, which need to connect to as many as 15 billion other neurons, to form a network of connections and pathways which are essential in order to think, feel or move. These connections, “called brain wiring” are formed as the child uses his senses, relates to, and has experiences with his world and the people in it. If this networking breaks or lapses, then the pattern is lost and there may be delays or uneven development.
The LTP program makes use of “calendars” which serve as a guide for parents on the developmental stages of the child and the appropriate activities they can do for each stage, using play as a technique. The calendars are focused on five areas of development: Sense of Self, Physical Development, Relationships, Understanding and Communication.
The calendars were first used among new mothers of marginalized families in Canada, and have been found out to be an effective parenting tool in other countries like India,Pakistan, and in some parts of Africa and South America.
LTP was introduced in the Philippines, through Aldersgate College, by Azucena “Suzie” Dulay Kurz, a Filipino-Canadian nurse. She is the liaison officer to the Philippines for Hincks-Dellcrest Centre. A Memorandum of Agreement was made between Aldersgate College and the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, through President Junifen F. Gauuan and Andrew Reesor- McDowell, LTP International Director, for LTP in the Philippines to be implemented by Aldersgate College. Suzie Kurz trained Prescilla A. Maddela, Director of the AC Integrated Child Development Center (ICDC), to become a Master LTP Trainer, along with other stakeholders of child development.
LTP in the Philippines aims to support the early psychological development of 0-6 year-old children by:
- providing creative and innovative learning opportunities for parents, child-caregivers, and community health workers on early childhood development and responsive parenting.
- developing awareness of parents and other adults on the importance of early stimulation to infants and young children through play activities;
- improving the parenting techniques of parents, particularly of 0-6 year-old children;
- helping parents understand the importance they can play in their child’s life from birth, onwards.
Though LTP, it is envisioned by Aldersgate college that every Filipino child will be:
- holistically healthy and strong, and endowed with human dignity;
- a loving caring and creative individual;
- happy, loved, and nurtured by a strong, stable and God – loving family;
- confident, assertive of his rights and reaching his full potential with the right opportunities and accessible resources.