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Strengthen Early Childhood Education in Anganwadis

Campaign by Better Education Lifestyle and Environment Foundation (BELIEF)

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Story

Our concern: Poor quality of Early Childhood Education in Anganwadis.

More than 50% of the children are dependent on Anganwadis for preschool education. Early Childhood Education (ECE), however, remains the weakest of the six services of Anganwadi. Poor quality of ECE impacts on the overall lifelong development of the children

  • 55% of India's school-going children cannot read and understand a short, age-appropriate text by class 5. (Source: World Bank's learning poverty index.) 
  • The British longitudinal study EPPE (Effective Provision of Preschool Education) clearly demonstrates the links between various models of ECCE and later achievement at the primary level.” (Source: position paper national focus group on early childhood education).
  • Improving the quality of ECE is now SDG 4.2

Anganwadis in urban slum settlements faces innumerable problems from lack of dedicated space for teaching to unavailability of toilets and handwashing spaces and from unawareness of parents about ECE to insufficient training of Anganwadi workers on ECE. This impacts the school readiness of children when they enter grade 1. Teachers of grade have to start again from the preschool curriculum in grade 1. Students then start lagging behind the grade-appropriate learning competencies. That's why BELIEF has started intervening right from the bottom! 

BELIEF has started an Anganwadi Strengthening Program in Hadapsar in which we work with 54 Anganwadis with an integrated approach. Our project has 2 important parts which involve all the stakeholders concerned with the issue.

  1. Capability Building of Anganwadi workers: We train (educate) the Anganwadi workers on AKAR (A state curriculum for Anganwadis). These training are conducted intensively with the content divided into smaller parts. Active involvement of attendees is ensured with prompt post-training handholding and on-site support. Anganwadi workers and the ICDS department is satisfied with this project and are willing to scale this intervention too.
  2. Parent as a teacher: Parents play an important role in the learning of a child. But often this role is underestimated especially in the semi / uneducated families from underprivileged communities. Our intervention aims at taking the active involvement of the parents in ECE not only through the awareness but also through taking their daily participation in ECE activities at home. BELIEF has developed nice and simple content for parents based on the AKAR curriculum, which is sent daily to the parents through WhatsApp in text and audio form. Parents conduct the ECE activities at home which support the development of the children at early years. The activities are easy to facilitate with the material available at home. We receive nice responses from parents.

Our Objective: Improved school readiness of children when entered grade 1.

We wish to strengthen the Anganwadi workers to plan and conduct all the lessons based on the AKAR curriculum in their Anganwadis. We wish that they are professionally developed to overcome the challenges in the field. The training by us should bring change in the classrooms of the Anganwadis. BELIEF emphasizes on the institutionalization of the change. This means that the entire system around the Anganwadi functioning should become ready to accept and sustain the change brought in the Anganwadis.

BELIEF also strives hard on involving parents in ECE. We wish that there should be a culture of learning developed at home and in the community. Children hardly spend 2-2.5 hours in Anganwadi. But they the spend rest of the day in the family. We aim at equipping parents to conduct ECE activities at home and along with the caregiving to the child, ECE should be a family's focus too. We ensure that the Anganwadi curriculum and Parent as Teacher go hand-in-hand so for receiving the impact.

At the end of the intervention, we wish that children undergoing this program through Anganwadi workers and parents fulfil the parameters of school readiness in grade1. 

Organisers
Better Education Lifestyle and Environment Foundation (BELIEF)

Better Education Lifestyle and Environment Foundation (BELIEF)

Beneficiary Charity

Mukta Navreka

Mukta Navreka

Organiser

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