Objective of the Vertical
Support and strengthen Integrated Child Development Service Centers in our working area through training programmes and demonstrations. Seek to set up and run model Child Development Centers in different areas and share the outcomes of our experiments with similarly aspiring rural government and non- government organizations.
Challenges in the Sector
The ICDS (Integrated Child Development Service Center) has done some significant work in India. For example, in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, a certain level of improvement was seen in the mental and social development of all children (Pattnaik, 1996). There was also a substantial positive change in the birth-weight and infant mortality of Indian children with improved immunization and nutrition. However, at the same time, the World Bank has pointed out certain drawbacks of the programme including participation of wealthier children more than the poorer children and lowest level of funding for the poorest states of India (Pattnaik, 1996). Studies have shown that activities that boost social, emotional, physical and cognitive development are rarely found in these institutions.
Lack of implementation of programs and maintenance of record and registers have led to unsatisfactory performances. Studies have also found unsystematic developmental assessment of children and no rigorous evaluation of activities, leading to minimal growth among children. As every AWC (Anganwadi Centre) lacks the number of required teachers (Sewikas), it is difficult to maintain the standard student teacher ratio. Also, the Sewikas in the AWCs are not properly trained. There is a lack of Teaching Learning Materials (TLMs) and if available, they are underutilized, inadequate and inappropriate. The buildings are also in dilapidated conditions where there is no light, ventilation, space for indoor and outdoor activities, safety, electricity, cooking space, storage, toilets, clean and safe drinking water.
Parivartan’s Baal Ghar Angan is designed for the age group of 3-6 years of children based on the pre-primary education model. This program runs with Anganwadi Centers (AWC) of 8 Panchayats that are in our close vicinity. Baal Ghar Angan aims to support and strengthen ICDS Centers in our working area through training programmes and demonstrations. This programme intends to create impact at the following levels:
Children: Baal Ghar Angan seeks to achieve social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of children by introducing innovative pedagogical framework in the field of Early Childhood Education. We focus on peer to peer development of children by creating an atmosphere of learning in AWC’s
Baal Ghar Angan aspires to nurture and develop ICDS centers or AWCs in its working area by supporting them in several ways. The programme also empowers Sewikas with the understanding to shape the culture and performance of AWCs.
Community: Parents, grandparents and other community members participate in programmes and workshops where they are apprised about the progress of their children throughout their journey at Baal Ghar Angan and are encouraged to engage with Parivartan’s other programs. Baal Ghar Angan also releases a biannual newsletter, ‘Hamar Angana’ that captures the experiences of children and Sewikas associated with Parivartan.
Baal Ghar Angan makes use of different Teaching Learning Materials (TLM’s) from some of the pioneering organisations in the field of education such as Jodo Gyan and Pratham that caters to the motor skill development in children. Children are also given the opportunity to interact and learn with other verticals.
When Sushant came to the Baal Ghar Aangan class with his aunt, he had stepped out of his home for the first time and was not used to being with other children. And that’s why he wasn’t sitting still at all, and kept opening the door and calling his aunt. I asked him repeatedly to sit down and it seemed as if he couldn’t hear me at all. When the class was about to get over, I gave a group activity to all the children and asked them to form groups of four. Then, all the kids started playing in groups but Sushant kept standing in the corner. When I asked him to join a group, he stood silently, ignoring my calls. When I asked him again, he lisped and said, “I will not play with them”.
When I gave him blocks to play with, he made a train with the blocks and started playing. I sat with him and asked him gently,” What are you making?”. And he unexpectedly answered, “My aunt doesn’t call me a good babu(boy) and only gets toys for her babu(son). Placing my hand on his head, I said, “You are a very good babu, Sushant, and I will tell this to your aunt also” and he agreed. It was time for the class to get over and all the children went near the gate but Sushant kept calling his aunt and asked me to call his aunt. After sometime, she came and asked me, “Madam I hope Sushant didn’t make any mischief today.” I asked her not to call Sushant a mischief-maker as he’s a very nice boy.
The next day Sushant came to the class with his aunt and looked at the children taking part in all the activities but still didn’t take part. In this way, everyday he started coming to class. Soon the children developed a camaraderie with Sushant and started asking about him when he was not around. Sushant became a regular student and bonded well with all the other children and got over his inhibitions.