Maharashtra government to implement new curriculum in anganwadis | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra government to implement new curriculum in anganwadis

This is the first time that a formal curriculum will be implemented in the anganwadis in Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Jul 27, 2017 13:46 IST
Puja Pednekar
(HT File photo for representation)

Observing that the state’s anganwadis, which are government-run creches for children between three and six years, are unable to prepare students for school, the Maharashtra government has passed a resolution to introduce a new curriculum in these schools.

This is the first time that a formal curriculum will be implemented in the anganwadis. The aim is to equip students with motor skills and other skills, so that they are ready for school.

The new curriculum​, known as Aakaar (Shape), is designed to ensure early childhood care and education. It stipulates that preschools should create a liking for education in the children, and this should be done using playful methods. Schools should not force children to write numbers and alphabets. Instead, they should be taught counting and their vocabulary should be enhanced slowly.

Teachers will be trained in following the curriculum, bringing in a more structured approach to the anganwadis.

“So far, anganwadis were merely acting as creches where working parents would drop- off their children for a few hours,” said Swati Popat Vats, president of the Early Childhood Association (ECA), a think-tank of preschools and educators, and president of the Podar Education Network.

Adding that introducing a curriculum will help in children’s development, Vats said, “A child’s early years play a crucial role in his or her development. It is the period when motor skills and fine motor skills can be developed, problems such as learning disabilities identified.”

Without any curriculum to guide them, preschools in India were imparting education in a haphazard manner, said experts. “There were many wrong teaching practices adopted by preschools and anganwadis that could potentially harm the child,” said Reeta Sonavat, professor and head of the department, SNDT Women’s University.

Some pre-schools, for instance, teach children to hold and write with a pencil at 3 to 4 years. This can harm the child, as his muscle co-ordination and fingers have not developed.

Children should only be given pencils at the age of 4 to 5 years. Until then, they should be made writing-ready by giving them activities like clay moulding, she added.

Others teach children to write alphabets first and in the A to Z order. Alphabets should be taught by teaching students about different types of lines and letters.

Some pre-schools teach students directly to write numbers. Counting of numbers should be taught first, then orally recognising numbers. Then recognising written numbers should follow after which numbers should be written in words.