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Quality Programs Need Not Be Expensive

"Do not assume that the other fellow has intelligence to match yours. He may have more." —Terry Thomas


In a paper, "Early Childhood Care and Development: Some Thoughts on How to Invest," presented at an Inter-American Development Bank ( seminar in Paris on March 14, 1999, Robert Myers argues that early childhood programs do not need to be expensive to be effective. He observed:

"This point was brought home to me forcefully during a visit to a rural center in Karnataka in India where I witnessed what might be called the Indian Rope Trick. There, an extraordinary woman, Indira Swaminathan, invented her own cognitive curriculum. Among 25 items in her 'cognitive kit' was a three-meter rope to work her magic -- hardly a costly item. Arriving at a one-room village pre-school center, we found 40 children who had been arranged in a circle, most of them sat inertly with rather blank stares. I watched as Indira tied the ends of the rope together and then placed it in the hands of the group of assembled children, now connected together in the circle by the rope. She then took her place in the circle, sitting between two of the children and began a series of routines that helped children learn the concepts of up and down, to identify the shape of a circle and a triangle, and to work as a group. And it was fun. Within moments, children who had been outside the circle began to
clamor to be part of the game. Eyes began to shine. Minds began to work."

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