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Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is a government program designed for the holistic development of young children right from before conception through early childhood years by providing nutrition, primary healthcare, immunization, health check-up, preschool education, and referral services to children under 6 years of age and their mothers. This is one of its kind schemes in the entire world that caters to the needs of the largest population of future nation builders.
Since its inception in 1975, the primary focus of entire machinery has been on the healthcare and nutritional needs of the primary beneficiaries due to the priorities of that period of time. Over the past 30-35 years, most of the Indian states have improved the health and nutrition scenario through incessant efforts of ICDS. 5 out of 6 services offered by Anganwadi Centers are being rolled out very effectively with the help of Government and community initiatives.. However, preschool education which exists on the paper as one of the six services has been long overlooked due to lack of awareness, facilities, proper guidance and provision of resources to the implementers and administrators on the ground.
In order to overcome this challenge, Grammangal initiated a District-wide project in predominantly tribal districts of Palghar within the state of Maharashtra in the year 2016.
In the first phase, we were able to reach 4 tehsils viz. Vasai, Palgahr, Dahanu & Talasari.
Grammangal has worked with Z.P.Palghar under Pragat Shaikshanik Maharashtra, an initiative by the then Goverment of Maharashra to bring up the learning outcomes of the students. More than 400 teachers volunteered for a training program spread over two months
|No. of ICDS Projects:||7||No. of Anganwadi Centers:||1,892|
|No. Beats:||39||No. of children:||~2,00,000|
A three-step approach was taken to address the lacunas in the system to initiate Early Childhood Education in Anganwadi centers
Capacity Building of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers
Conduct a series of workshops periodically over the year along with monthly peer learning sessions with ICDS workforce. Provide an opportunity for building knowledge, testing it in their own domain (center) and verifying it with their peers. Include the last person in the hierarchy (Anganwadi Worker) in the learning process of children thereby making everyone feel useful and important. This has proven to be a motivator and key to the success of this project on such a large scale
Equipping Anganwadi Centers with Teaching and Learning Material
Provide a startup set of Teaching and Learning Materials to each Anganwadi center that addresses the developmental competencies of the child. Consequently, build skillsets of frontline workers to develop their own teaching-learning materials from locally available resources catering to the academic, social and emotional needs of the children in their centers.
Inhouse Mentoring Support to Anganwadi Workers
Handholding support to frontline workers by a trained Academic mentor from Grammangal to facilitate on-ground implementation. Mentoring support through monthly visits to all Anganwadi centers and providing feedback to higher-ups in the ICDS hierarchy helps create a transparent system of quality improvement.
A journey from Helper to Balvikasak (Mentor)
Rajnai Tai, Anganwadi Helper,
Khodave Pada AWC, Saphale 1 beat, Palghar
Testimonial of a positive change due to the impact of the Project through ECE training and On-site support by GM Facilitator. Effective attitudinal and role shift was seen in Rajani from being a helper to Balvikasak.
How Rajani tai tackeled the issue of addressing parents and advising them against introducing writing at an early age during a parent meeting in her own words:
"When your child was an infant, did you start them on Dal-Rice (Solid food) or Milk? I hope milk.Currently, your child is in pre-school age and this time needs to be invested in improving her pre-writing skills and not the writing. This is necessary to develop her hand-eye coordination along with fine muscles of fingers. This will help her get a good grip which is beneficial for writing in the future. If you skip this stage, then the child may not be able to write properly ever. This is what we are doing here in Angawadi. Helping your child now acquire the necessary skills to make her ready for future writing regime."
- Enhancement in quality of information, knowledge, and skills of Bal Vikasak (ECE Mentors)
- Developing 200 Model Anganwadi Centers (AWCs)
- Setting up a permanent resource center in Aine and other ICDS projects
- Establish ECCE Library with reference books on ECCE, & Tribal Education
- Start a Research on Training and EC Development and Tribal education
- Sensitizing and empowering parents on Early childhood and education (ECCE)