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Early Childhood Development


Celebrate Life

Mothers participate of Meet organized by Pastoral Materno Infantil on early stimulation
Herrera, Santo Domingo Oeste. - “A mother never stops loving”, is the title of the story narrated by Sister Cristina to the participants in “Celebración de la Vida” (* A Celebration of Life), of the Pastoral Materno Infantil of Palmar de Herrera. Immediately, mothers, some with their children at arms, raise their hands and analyze the message contained in that story.

“I went to get planned (sterilized) and the doctor recommended curettage. He said it seemed I was pregnant, he performed the tests, and matter of fact, I was going to have another baby. I did not allow for anything to be done to me”, explained Nena, commenting on the blessing that is motherhood and the love she feels for her children. Her friends also share their motherhood experiences.

Mothers nurse their child, some carry their children despite, and the rest of group focuses on the progress of the meet, which in the case of that Saturday, has as main topic to cover “the development of language”, imparted by Bertilia Ramírez.

Bertilia explains with simple wording and everyday examples, the importance of showing love to children since they are in utero, and to speak to them clearly. “We want intelligent children”, she exclaims.

“Children from the first to the last, need to be loved the same, whether or not they resemble me, lighter skin or darker”, explains the speaker, and by the covering the subject of the educator’s role in a mother, one of the participants interrupts her.

“Mothers must educate their children, but men need to do their part as well”, comments the participant.
The speaker took advantage of her intervention to point out the way that spousal conflicto influences in child development, even during pregnancy, and how throughout stimulation of both, children can develop their abilities.

“From 0 to 3 yrs, parents must provide a good plateau and education for their children. If you want to harvest good fruit, you need to plant the seed”, she suggests. Also expressed to the group that children are not only provided with good nutrition, hygiene and health, but you must pay attention, show love and stimulate, to thus achieve their integral development.

One of the rooms in the Escuela Amor de Dios (* The School of God’s Love) has been fit to receive this 26-member mothers group, that from different areas have come together to participate at this Meet which began timely at 09:00am.

Two hours later a young girl arrives with a little girl at arms, stops the colloquium and all applaud her. “Masiel is back in the group” is heard all around. Some months back she had to move from Palmar, and could not participate from the meetings. This Saturday she wanted to visit and share her experience with her fellows.

The Celebration of Life metes celebrated by the Maternal Childhood Pastoral of the Catholic Church, with the support of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), set a strategic framework based on “Awakening the Five Senses”, addressed to parents, mothers and/or legal guardians and caretakers.

The Pastoral provides pre natal accompaniment. In Palmar de Herrera they meet, all the way, till their time for labor, four groups of expecting mothers, promoted by this organization.


The Awakening of the Five Senses

Is a strategy developed by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, the National Childhood and Youth Council (CONANI), the National Council for Social Security; the Coalition of NGOs for Infancy; Educa; Fé y Alegría; Pastoral Materno Infantil; World Vision, Plan International; UJEDO and the Presidential AIDS Council- COPRESIDA.

The work performed by the Pastoral with these expecting mothers groups and the activities of “Celebration of Life” are part of this strategy, whose sole objective is to strengthen and promote national awareness on the importance of integral child development, with the purpose of contributing to broaden the knowledge of both families and institutions required to develop primary focus actions in favor of early infancy”.

The materials used by the facilitators are the Guide for Survival and Childhood Development, the Guide of facilitation for social mobilization on survival and child development, an informative booklet of breastfeeding, as well as an Infommercial (DVD format): Informative video of 9-minute footage.

Pastoral Materno Infantil
 Pastoral Materno Infantil is an organism of social aid of the Conference of Bishops of the Dominican Republic, throughout its National Infancy Commission, which works in low-income communities.

Currently, Pastoral works in the sectors of Guachupita, La Ciénaga, Los Guandules and El Manguito, in the National District of Santo Domingo; in Sabana Perdida of Santo Domingo Norte; in the rural communities of  San Cristóbal, in the Batey of Consuelo, San Pedro de Macorís; in rural zones of Bonao, in the El Cibao region; as well as in Dajabón, Valverde and La Vega.

Pastoral is sponsored by UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization, for the implementation of its projects, focused on the betterment of survival and integral development of maternal and childhood population, from pregnancy all the way to the 6th year of life”.

By María Eugenia del Pozo
May 2011

In Luis Misael’s home life is celebrated every day



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