Quality Education Begins Early: Anganwadi Teachers Leading the Path through Effective ECE
“Mata, Pita, Guru, Daivam”
Every Indian has come across this old Sanskrit saying. Guru features right after one’ parents. Such is the importance of one’s guru in their life. Sometimes, even gurus or teachers need the right training to produce the optimum output and this is all the more crucial in a rural setting where there is a glaring lack of infrastructure.
In rural India, children aged 0-4 spend large amounts of time at their Anganwadi centres, under the care of the teachers there. As part of the Born Learning Campaign, Anganwadi teachers are guided by United Way facilitators to impart the best early education and child care which focusses on developing the motor and cognitive faculties of the children to make them school-ready. These teachers also work alongside the children’s mothers where it is the former’s responsibility to guide the latter in doing the same but in the home environment.
In such a situation, it is a no brainer to figure out the significance of training and empowering the Anganwadi teachers and helpers through focused and well-defined capacity building programme throughout the year.
Under the ECE Training of Anganwadi Workers and Facilitator, the facilitator visits every Anganwadi once per week and focus on on-the-job support to the Anganwadi teacher.
The training is divided into different cycles with sufficient gap of at least two months between each cycle. The idea is that the participants get sufficient time to practice and apply what they learn in the training. Every training has a component of a workshop and a field practice where the participants have to demonstrate what they have learnt and they are given very specific feedback.
The training is followed by practice on the field which is observed closely by the facilitator with on-the-job support and mentoring.
Some of the main topics covered in the training are the sensitive periods in the 0-6 years age bracket, importance of Early Stimulation, child-centered approach, developing developmentally appropriate activities for children across domains and low cost play material, concept of free play and role of anganwadi teacher and how to set them up for different domains of development such as dramatic play corner, hand-eye coordination corner, story/literacy corner, puzzles corner and creativity corner.
Some of the positive results are Anganwadi teachers spending more quality time on pre-school learning activities, increased support by the community to the Anganwadis visible through their significant contributions in terms of infrastructure and other materials, better perception in the minds of parents and community about Anganwadis and finally better knowledge, skills and attitude of the Anganwadi teachers.