Kerala to release handbook series to empower parents on holistic child development

Touted as the first of its kind in India, this initiative aims to equip parents with the knowledge and tools to navigate their children's physical, mental, and emotional growth.

ByDileep V Kumar

Published Jul 08, 2024 | 9:00 AM Updated Jul 08, 2024 | 9:00 AM

Kerala to release handbook series to empower parents on holistic child development

Paving the way for a more informed and supportive parenting journey, Kerala is set to launch a unique initiative – a series of handbooks catering to parents of children at different stages of school life.

Touted as the first of its kind in India, this initiative aims to equip parents with the knowledge and tools to navigate their children’s physical, mental, and emotional growth.

The General Education Department (GED) has developed this initiative and the ‘Handbook for Parents’ is expected to be released by the end of this month.

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Empowering parents

Talking to South First, State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) director Dr Jayaprakash RK said, “The educational process can be visualised as a triangle where students, teachers, and parents each occupy one corner, forming a mutually supportive structure essential for effective learning.”

According to him, the education triangle is strongest when students, teachers, and parents work together harmoniously.

He further said that parents, in particular, have a unique role that bridges the home and school environments, providing the stability and encouragement that children need to succeed academically.

“By fostering a collaborative relationship with teachers and actively participating in their child’s education, parents help create a nurturing and effective educational experience. We believe that this handbook series will be a valuable resource, guiding them through this crucial journey,” Dr Jayaprakash added.

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A handbook for every stage

According to General Education Minister V Sivankutty, the decision to prepare the handbook for parents was taken as part of the curriculum reform activities in the state.

“Four books will be prepared for parents who have children belonging to the pre-primary, LP/UP, high school, and higher secondary levels. The book deals with children’s physical and mental development and how to develop the student-teacher-parent relationship,” said the minister in a social media post.

According to Dr Jayaprakash, the initiative will encompass four distinct handbooks, each designed for a specific age group: pre-primary, lower primary-upper primary, high school, and higher secondary.

“This targeted approach ensures the content resonates with the unique challenges and opportunities faced by children at each level,” he said.

He further added, “Parenting is a journey filled with challenges and triumphs. Our goal with these handbooks is to provide parents with a roadmap that helps them understand and support their children through every phase of their growth.”

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A holistic parenting guide

The handbooks go beyond the realm of academics.

Beyond addressing physical, mental, and emotional well-being, the handbook also delves into critical contemporary issues such as drug abuse, online addiction, cybercrime, and the importance of extracurricular activities.

It emphasises a holistic approach to child development, encouraging parents to foster a balanced and healthy lifestyle for their children.

“We understand the modern-day challenges that parents face. This handbook is designed to be a one-stop guide for addressing many issues that impact children today. Our goal is to empower parents to nurture well-rounded, healthy individuals,” explained an official of GED.

The handbooks feature expert advice on recognising and responding to the various changes children undergo as they grow. It offers practical tips on how parents can provide support and create an environment that nurtures healthy, well-rounded citizens.

An official contributing to the handbook, remarked, “Children today are exposed to a myriad of influences that can shape their development in profound ways. This handbook equips parents with the knowledge to guide their children through these influences positively.”

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A collaborative effort

According to Dr Jayaprakash, the handbooks were prepared by a team comprising of teachers, parents, dieticians, medical experts, child specialists, psychiatrist, child psychologists, and others.

“We plan to hand over soft copies to parents. But if anyone needs hard copies, we will arrange it. Also, a parent could either choose one handbook or keep all of them,” said Jayaprakash.

“Before the handbooks, parents were provided with a training programme during the school reopening function (Praveshanolsavam). As a continuation of that orientation programmes will be provided. Such initiatives aim to focus on aspects of life beyond books,” Dr Supriya AR, state project director, Samagra Shiksha Kerala, told South First.

The officials are of the view that balancing academic learning with these broader aspects of life helps in nurturing well-rounded individuals who are not only knowledgeable but also adaptable, empathetic, and capable of thriving in various aspects of life.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj)

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