Darpan, is 3 years old girl who is very smart. Her parents are illiterates, her 7-year-old brother studies in a Government School nearby. She has not been to school but already knows counting and can say alphabets orally. When we asked her parents to send to school early and not wait till she is 6, they told us that they cannot pay afford the fee in private schools as they both are daily wagers and Government Schools do not have ECE program.
This is not just the case of Darpan and there are many children in India who do not have exposure to proper Early Childhood Education. Research says that 70% of the child’s development is done by the time they reach 6 years. Hence, Early Childhood Education is very crucial in child’s mental development.
Avasar Foundation identified that this is an area to the addressed and took up an initiative of Pre Primary Schools in Government School Premises with state of art classrooms and other facilities. These schools are for children like Darpan, who are from economically weaker sections of the society. Avasar is now running 3, 100% free preschools for the last 2 years, benefiting 150+ children.
Avasar provides books, uniform and other stationery required for the students free of cost. Each class of 25 students has two teachers and a helper. A customized play based curriculum which is on par with Private Schools is followed for LKG and UKG. Co-curricular activities like painting, singing and dancing are also taught along with the curriculum.
There is diversity of students, coming from different socio-cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Above all many of them are first generation learners. In no time they all learn together and be together with the efforts of teachers. By the end of 2 years they will be able to read and write small sentences in English and regional language, identify numbers up to 1000 and can do single digit addition.
Darpan, completed her LKG and waiting for school to start for UKG. She can now read and write 3 letter words and count up to 20. She proudly says ” I am studying in Avasar Pre-Primary School.