READY FOR SCHOOL
Early Childhood Care and Education CentreLearning is a process that begins at birth. To improve literacy rates in the country, it is imperative to expose children to a culture of learning when they are young. Deepalaya’s Early Childhood Care and Education Centre was inaugurated in collaboration with Infogain India Private Limited for this very purpose on 16th May 2018. The project was set up with 4 major objectives in mind:
1. To identify 120 children (60 children falling in the age group of 1.5 years to 6 years and 60 children in the age group of 6 to 14 years) from low economic background (with annual household income less than Rs. 2 Lacs) or are from BPL (Below Poverty Line) families as classified by Government
2. To provide low-cost nutrition and equip these children with basic gross motor skills, and prepare these children for school
3. To mainstream these children into school
4. To run remedial classes to ensure that the children enrolled in government schools can cope with their curriculum.
To narrow down our target group, regular visits to the nearby two government primary schools were done to conduct meetings with the school principals and teachers so they could refer certain students who had younger siblings. Along with this, regular community mobilization visits have been done by the teachers for the identification of new students to replace the dropout or mainstreamed students. As on 31st March 2019, 225 students have been identified for the centre. Out of these, 109 students have regularly come to the Centre, with 56% of them being girls and 44% boys. During the first year of the programme’s existence, the average attendance of students was between 58% to 70%.
\r\nTo tackle the problem of dropouts and absenteeism an individual student tracking system is used. In this tracking system, if any student is absent for 3 days in a row, the teacher makes a home visit the next day. In case their home is not found, a telephonic follow up is done.
\r\nAs per the level of the student, regular classes are provided in two shifts. First shift starts from 8:00 am and ends at 11:30 am, and the second shift starts from 12:00 noon and continues till 3:30 pm. Students are divided into 3 groups:
||1.5 years to 3 years
||3 years to 4 years
|| 5 years and above
The major focus of this program is the holistic development of children’s personalities and inclusion of healthy attitudes, foundational skills and value education. The centre focuses on the development of gross motor skills, basic language and math skills. The children are taught in a fun, activity-based format through games, role-play, toys, physical activities, storytelling, and drawing & colouring.
Health, hygiene and nutrition play a large role in providing a safe, homely environment for the developmental needs of young children. Healthy practices like maintaining oral hygiene through brushing, hand washing before and after meals, keeping nails trimmed, being neatly dressed, daily combing of hair, proper waste disposal methods and toilet usage techniques are encouraged. A weekly meal chart with healthy meals like fruits, Poha, eggs, and khichdi is followed regularly to meet the nutrition requirements of growing children.
\r\nEvery month, a PTM (Parents and Teacher Meeting) is organized for a thorough assessment of the student’s progress, class activities, health and hygiene practices, the student’s personal files, work completed, and a follow up for absenteeism and irregular attendance. Parents who are not able to come to the centre for the meeting are individually contacted for follow up meets at their homes or when they come to drop their kids at school. Regular interaction has resulted in a strong rapport with parents and reduced the dropout rates. During the year 7 group meetings are conducted, which was attended by 426 parents.
Deepalaya has been able to make significant inroads into Village Mumura, Sector 66, Noida and reached to 225 children and their families. With the support of the community, we look forward to making a ripple in the relatively unexplored sector of early childhood education for the underprivileged in the country.
In the academic year 2019-20, the project had 78 new enrolments with 49 girls and 29 boys.