A new teaching model devised by the Pune Zilla Parishad (ZP) for anganwadis has impressed the National Institute for Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD),which functions under the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development. It is getting ready to replicate it nationally.
The anganwadis in the district,where Marathi pre-primary schools are run,recently upgraded teaching methods resulting in an increase in enrolment by 4,000 within three months.
The new method replaces traditional learning by rote with a theme-and-activity-based system.
The model was lauded at a recent NIPCCD seminar.
NIPCCD deputy director Dr D Pandey said it would be replicated at the national level by the beginning of next year.
The model developed by the Pune ZPs women and child development department resulted in an increase in anganwadi enrolment,said Nandini Ghanekar,deputy chief executive officer (Dy CEO) of the ZP.
The programme was introduced in January and by the end of March,there was an increase by about 4,000 students in anganwadis in Pune district, she said. Anganwadis had been of late associated merely with distribution of free mid-day meals and the revamp was aimed at changing this attitude.
Anganwadi teachers (better known as tais), taught children some age-old songs,but there was no structured approach to educating students,who are in the age group of 3-6 years. As a result,attendance was on the wane, she stated.
The facelift was given taking into consideration educational qualification of teachers. Most of them have completed secondary schooling. The curriculum for anganwadis has already been determined. We just decided to frame a new method of teaching. The method would allow more activity based learning and give more time for children to play, she stated.
The committee that included child psychologists,experts from the Centre for Learning Resources,representatives of the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and others finalised the model.
The committee prepared a handbook for teachers on teaching methods to be adopted. Three projects are taken up every month. Every week,students are introduced to a new subject,like knowledge about ones body,introduction to Marathi and English alphabet,numerals and identifying animals,vegetables and fruits.
The learning process also revolves around various festivals wherein children are taught about society and its norms. Instead of learning by rote,numerals are taught through activities and songs and special education kits and aids are used to make learning fun.
We realised that disciplining students as soon as they enter anganwadis was keeping them away. So we dedicated the first hour of the day for games. Students,instead of sitting in class would spend this time playing outside. Soon after the new method was introduced,we noticed that students were no longer reluctant to attend school and started attending classes punctually, said Kiran Nigade an anganwadi teacher at Kivwe village in Bhor taluka.
After the handbook was finalised,the ZP held a residential training session for 40 trainers,which was attended by CEO Anil Kabade,ZP president Datta Bharne,ZP vice-president Pradeep Kand and chairperson of the women and child committee Manisha Labhe. They in turn trained the Anganwadi teachers.
By the end of March,there was an increase of over 4,000 students in anganwadis,with talukas of Shirur,Baramati,Junnar and Purandhar taking the lead.
ZP Deputy CEO Ghanekar presented the project at a national seminar organised by NIPCCD where it was selected as a role model. Dr Pandey said that every region is studying the model to replicate it. Once the framework is ready,every state would formulate its own model based on the framework, he said.