The covid-19 pandemic that began in the year 2020 has been a truly challenging phenomenon for the entire world. To prevent the spread of the virus, in India, schools and Anganwadis have remained closed for about one academic year. Some schools with grades 5 to 10 had started functioning again for a while but now they too have been closed again. Anganwadis have remained closed throughout this period and still remain closed as of June 2021. No one has a clear idea about how this school closure has affected the lives and learning of children. Government bodies as well as non-government organizations are taking efforts to continue the teaching-learning activities in an online mode. In this blog I am going to present an overview of an initiative by QUEST which is also making this effort.
QUEST’s Palavee program is being implemented in the state of Maharashtra with the objective to strengthen the Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Anganwadis by training the Anganwadi Sevikas and Supervisors. It has reached over 1800 Anganwadis. Since the lockdown, the work with children in the Anganwadis has come to a standstill. Thus, we at QUEST began thinking about how children’s education could continue outside the Anganwadis.
Considering the age group of children in Anganwadis (3 to 6 years), we believe that it is not advisable to teach them using electronic gadgets like mobile phones or tablets. Because, firstly, it is not yet clear what ill effects such gadgets can have on such young children. And secondly, the learning experiences created using these gadgets are quite limited. Children learn better when they interact with adults while using real objects. Considering this, we decided to explore ways in which children’s education could continue at home with the help of their parents. After a few discussions and data collection, we planned the following strategy:
- To create short videos explaining how to teach children at home through certain activities and then send the videos to parents
- To ask Anganwadi Sevikas to create whatsapp groups of parents having smartphones and post the videos in these groups along with instructions, and to appeal to parents to conduct those activities with children
- To ask Anganwadi Sevikas to show the videos to parents without smartphones when they come to the Anganwadi to collect rations for their children’s mid-day-meals
In the last few months, we have created 87 whatsapp groups of parents in Palghar, Parbhani, Amravati and Yavatmal districts. A total of 1541 parents are participating in this initiative. Many of them have responded well. Some have even posted their own videos of conducting activities with their children.With this, after a long gap, children’s education has finally begun at home, at least to some extent.
In this video, the child, Rudra, is able to understand the concept of what is more and what is less, but he is not able to express it in a comparative sentence. He has given the correct answer for ‘what is more’, but he says ‘cups are more, plates are more’ when asked to compare the two. Young children often find it difficult to express what they have understood in a precise form. A little help from an adult can better channel their language development. Teaching math in an Anganwadi is thus strongly connected to children’s language development. Therefore, the presence of an adult greatly helps in a child’s language development. Mobile phones or other gadgets cannot provide this support. Hence, parents need to take an initiative to teach their children. Even if they can spend fifteen minutes a day for these activities, that would be beneficial.
Since the parents have started sharing their own videos on the whatsapp groups, the Anganwadi Sevikas are also feeling enthused. For the ‘Anganwadi Majhya Ghari’ program, we have had to broaden the definition of the word ‘parent’ – because it is evident from the videos that not only the parents but also older siblings, grandparents and neighbor’s children are participating in this work! ‘Anganwadi Majhya Ghari’ may become an integral part of QUEST’s Palavee program in the days to come.
The venture you have started us very meaningful both for the parents as well as the children. I agree that children cannot be taught important concepts through electronic media. It’s good to use materials available at home to get concepts across and videos show that it is repeated with different objects. Hope parents are made to understand that concepts must be repeatedly taught to strengthen the children’s understanding.
Hi Nilesh also wanted to say, that concept videos are very ckaer and well thought out.
I have a suggestion if certain materials could be purchased online and distributed – blocks, puzzles, picture books.
We are planning to provide some books for conducting read aloud & shared reading sessions through a mobile library. But providing other materials for an individual child goes out of budget.
Hi Nilesh…… It is wonderful to see the children learning fundamental concepts of one to one correspondence so well at home. Your endeavour to educate at the grassroot level is praiseworthy. Taught with simple,familiar concrete objects the learning is so meaningful for the children. I am sure parents too appreciate this kind of learning where the children are not burdened with paper and pencil. In a way you are educating parents also.Some simple manipulatives like beads, buttons and cost effective toys can be supplied to them so that the children play as well as learn.
The videos clearly show that the child easily picks up the concept of 1to 1 correspondence. Such familiar concrete materials make learning more meaningful. I suggest distributing cost effective manipulatives like beads, buttons, ribbons, plastic toys to make learning more interesting.
So happy to see Paalave programme taking parents as partners and empowering them through videos to provide stimulation at home . This is exactly what AECED has been propogating and thrilled to see QUEST propogating the same.
Thread and bobbins !! Very interesting!! Using what is available in the child’s immediate environment!
Sticks, stones, leaves , twigs, flowers the list is endless!
Look forward to more sharing!!
I think the language part which teacher is telling is reversible thinking. In this age it is difficult for the children to give understanding in teachers language. They can you there own language of math understanding, which teacher should accept.
Dr. Sonawat I agree with you that the parent should accept the answer and keep on engaging the child in similar activities. However the parent has not asked the child to reverse the thinking. It is just a plain comparative statement and the child is trying to put it into appropriate words. reversing the thought process and also expressing it in the words will be even more complex task at this stage of development.
Truly adaptive education. Involving parents is the best strategy and it is very interesting to see how well the parents have followed the steps. I think post pandemic too such sessions should go on. Nimkar sir, congratulations to you and your entire team. It is brilliant!!
It is truly heartening to see Quest’s innovative efforts in planning and implementing approaches to provide teaching-learning opportunities to 3 ~ 6 year olds, who fall out of the ambit of “online education”. The fact that these opportunities are more inclusive, in terms of not being totally dependent on the availability of gadgets/ technology, is also very encouraging. There is so much to learn from Quest’s out-of-the-box solutions for both making education inclusive and also for integrated learning (example: combining language and maths skills). Scaling up to offer similar solutions for older children would be truly wonderful.