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Observation-Cum-Lab Centres to Demonstrate Effective Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Existing balwadi teachers and anganwadi workers tend to have insufficient and often unsound preservice training, with a smattering of theory and no exposure to good implementation at the field level. Besides teachers and anganwadi workers, administrative authorities in government programmes like the ICDS, and project directors / coordinators of NGO ECE interventions also need far more in-depth perspective-building on early child development and how to promote it.

At the CLR, we have therefore felt a great need, in our own inservice training programmes, to be able to expose trainees to a well-run, developmentally sound preschool programme, and give them an opportunity to interact with good preschool teachers. It was important to lodge a good programme not in an ideal situation, but preferably within the constraints of schemes like the ICDS, so that trainees from similar backgrounds would find their observations at these sites relevant to their own contexts.

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Observation Anganwadi in Village Kule

It is with these objectives in mind, that the CLR has since 2008 been developing 7 ICDS anganwadi centres in the Mulshi Block, Pune District, through intensive support in the form of materials, training and monitoring. The purpose is to develop model sites for other ICDS and NGO functionaries undergoing CLR training in early childhood education (ECE). These centres are also intended to serve as natural and continuous labs for the designing and piloting of further ECE materials and processes.

For more information on the ongoing work to sustain these centres, see Annual Report, 2010-2011, (pgs. 6-8)

Fulfilling the Young Child's Right to Development by Strengthening the Pre-School (ECE) Component in ICDS Anganwadis of Dharni Block, Amravati District

"The biggest problem I am facing today is that children do not stay in the anganwadis. Secondly, anganwadi teachers have to call them every time. I feel this project will help solve these problems"
Deputy CEO, Amravati

There is considerable global evidence that for children from disadvantaged communities, good preschool education is an important avenue for addressing the multiple domains that influence their readiness for formal schooling. For the vast majority of disadvantaged children in India, the ICDS scheme is the only avenue for providing preschool education. It is well recognised that while ICDS has been operational across India for several years, its pre-school component continues to be abysmally weak.

In this connection, the CLR initiated an action research project in the Melghat region of Amravati District in 2009 with a mandate to enable 215 ICDS anganwadi centres across Dharni Block, to implement good quality early childhood education for the local, predominantly tribal population. An important but long-term goal is to demonstrate a replicable decentralized strategy, through capacity building at all levels of ICDS, for strengthening the ECE component in ICDS projects in Maharashtra and other regions of the country.

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The book corner
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Manipulative play

 

The following are the major project activities that have been undertaken :

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Training session of the Block Resource Team
  • Baseline survey of the socio-cultural context and the ECE programme quality in ICDS-Dharni.
  • Assessment of learning outcomes of 280 children in Dharni anganwadis, who had experienced two years of ECE and were entering Class 1 in June-July, 2010.
  • Building capacity and upgrading facilities at Anganwadi Workers Training Centers (AWTCs)
  • Developing 19 observation anganwadis through training and mentoring of anganwadi workers, provision of learning materials and upgrading of anganwadi facilities.
  • Creation of a Block Resource Team for providing regular field-based inservice training and mentoring support
  • Initiation of activities for community participation and support

For more information on the ongoing project activities, see Annual Report, 2010-2011, (pgs. 9-15)

Building Capacities within NGOs-Corporates-Government for Early Childhood Education - Yadgir, North Karnataka and Forbes Marshall, Pune

Yadgir District, North Karnataka

The CLR is providing technical inputs for ECE to two organisations supported by Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust in Yadgir District, namely Kalike Samruddhi Upakram (KSU) and Community Development Foundation (CDF). Preparatory work has started.

Forbes Marshall, Pune

As part of its CSR activities, Forbes Marshall assists a number of urban anganwadis, as well as deploying community based support teachers, to provide school readiness support to children in the early school-going age . The CLR is providing technical inputs in this CSR initiative of Forbes Marshall. This pilot initiative covers 9 pockets of the Bhosari Beat of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation.

Development of Training and Learning Materials in Early Childhood Education

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Publication of the Revised Teacher’s Handbook

The Marathi edition of the teacher’s handbook accompanying the CLR ECE kit was further revised and published this year. It will be disseminated in our ICDS-Dharni project.

 

 

Contextualising ECE Materials for Tribal Children

It is widely acknowledged that children’s learning is enhanced when learning materials and activities are relevant to their cultural context. Hence, new discussion pictures were designed and added to the CLR ECE kit to be used in the CLR ECE project in the predominantly tribal block of Dharni . These pictures are based on the immediate physical and social environment of the children, helping them to build conversations around several themes.

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Creation of locale-specific illustrations for 'picture-talk'

 

Audio Visual Training Materials in the Video Medium

Topics of CLR’s 5 ECE Training Videos

  • Baseline survey of the socio-cultural context and the ECE programme quality in ICDS-Dharni.
  • Play and its Significance in ECE
  • Factors that Influence Children’s Reading Ability
  • Emergent Literacy: Developing Specific Skills
  • Methods and Materials for Developing Mathematics Readiness
  • Role of the Helper in the Anganwadi Centre

In addition to teaching-learning materials, work on developing audio-visual materials that help to strengthen our own ECE training programmes has begun. The conceptualisation, scripting and production of the 5 video modules was done in-house by CLR. They depict a highly interactive and constructivist approach in the transaction of various ECE activities within typical government run ECE centres / anganwadis. Guidelines for using the video modules to scaffold discussion and reflection amongst ECE workers were also developed, so as to support local level training to become more experiential and application oriented.