Early Childhood Education: Early Focus for Long-Term Impact Education

India’s promise to ensure access to quality early education for its youngest children has been rejuvenated with the launch of “Jadui Pitara” – a magical box by the Ministry of Education, which has educational programs for the fundamental stages of 3 to 8. Contains teaching and learning materials for ,

The Magic Box is a milestone in our education system, recognizing the impact of play-based learning in ensuring a similar foundation for our children early on.

Learning through play, both free and structured play, has been recognized over the past few decades as an important strategy in building foundational social-cognitive, motor and emotional skills in children – by engaging in play, children are exposed to a world that are introduced to sounds that teach them to communicate (eg: who will be the doctor this time), basic physical patterns (eg clap, then back and forth) that help them build pattern recognition skills which are important for math, or pretend-play, which serves as one. Simulations to reconcile your feelings with external factors, rationalize, express, freely discuss thoughts and ideas, and build agency and a sense of control.

A worthwhile addition to the early age learning curriculum, The Magic Box exemplifies the holistic development ethos of the National Curriculum Framework, which is based on non-linearity of learning trajectories, focusing on contextual understanding over rote learning Is.

Quality Centers Needed

With 85% of brain development achieved by the age of 8, foundational literacy and numeracy can either prepare a child for a life of opportunities or sprint on the backfoot. India’s 1.4 million Anganwadi centers and quality education are the catalytic building blocks for millions of children from low-income families.
Opportunities, therefore, that can bridge the divide between what children can do and what is expected of them are anganwadi workers (primarily frontline workers in charge of child health and nutrition).
What has become clear through our engagement and work with communities across 7 states in India is the hunger and desire of Anganwadi workers to take advantage of play-based learning and teaching. They have an inherently higher intention and interest in contributing effectively to a child’s future and a greater readiness to upskill. In our intervention states, anganwadi workers have reported a visible increase in attendance, learning outcomes, and social-cognitive skill building – self-confidence, thinking ability, etc., when game-based learning is implemented.

Rocket learning studies have shown that the average child in a treatment group improves test scores by more than 30% and ranks in the top third of a control group.

Highly resourceful in a resource-scarce environment, anganwadi workers are consistently going above and beyond their call of duty, ‘doing more with less’, as exemplified in Maharashtra’s anganwadi worker dolls made from old clothes and rocks are – indestructible, long lasting and leading to socio-emotional development.

The magic box, with its potential to be customized and ensure last mile access, should positively encourage better learning outcomes. Empowering a generation of ill-equipped but determined parents.

Parents also play an important role in providing a stimulating, learning environment for their children, but support due to their low literacy levels, lack of awareness, drudgery that limits time for engagement, and daily struggles with poverty Is required. But when empowered with resources that are user-friendly, that allow seamless integration into daily routines, parental behavior changes, which in the long run will make a difference to young children’s foundational learning. Affirmative action happens regularly.

In fact when learning becomes more play based, parents and children find joy in learning together – giving busy dads and moms a way to engage with their children on a daily basis without the stress of traditional ‘homework’. This, in turn, helps them to regain their confidence and motivation in their roles as first teachers.

motion to action

There is growing understanding of the positive, long-term impact of early childhood education at both the national and policy levels. There have been several important announcements recently, including the new National Curriculum Framework with an emphasis on life skills and social-emotional skills, and the National Education Policy 2020. , and compulsory admission of children to primary schools only after the age of 6 years to ensure active engagement in basic education.

All of these policy efforts point to a favorable policy environment that recognizes opportunity for an economy that capitalizes on our youngest children’s ability to solve problems, think creatively, and enjoy the learning process in the future. Will depend Recognition of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) to Early Childhood Education as an important component of the Integrated Child Development Plan and concrete action on inclusion of ‘Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi’ as part of Poshan Maah, a step towards openness of the Government. There are positive indicators. and commitment to seize the opportunity and develop a high quality pre-school system both in perception and capability. Collaboration among parents, Anganwadi workers and teachers to move towards the north star of delightful, play-based education will help in realizing India’s vision of Amrit Kaal.

(This article was written by Namya Mahajan, Co-Founder, Rocket Learning and Sukhna Sawhney, Lead for Early Childhood Education, Rocket Learning. The views expressed here are personal.)

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