The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) has also been raising red flags regarding the literacy levels of our school-going children for the past decade or more. United Way Mumbai’s (UWM) Project Ankur supported by Future Generali India Insurance focuses on school readiness and development of children aged 0 to 6, parents and caregivers from marginalized communities residing in Panvel, Maharashtra. Dropout rates in the country are increasing as children move into formal learning institutions. If pre-school education is not given enough importance, children will fail to grasp basic concepts that will help them excel during their school years. After the introduction of the National Early Childhood Care and Education Policy, it has been made mandatory to offer structured preschool education to children aged 3-6 years in the Anganwadi Centre itself.
The project is working with children and engaging them in activities that help them develop their social, emotional and cognitive intelligence. The program extensively also works with parents where workshops are conducted for them as the role of parents in early years is most significant as the provider of ‘nurturing care.’ The workshops conducted include emotions management, awareness generation, practical demonstration and problem solving.
The program is also concentrating on upgrading existing Anganwadi centres, rural child care centres in India. Project Ankur is spread across 6 Anganwadi Centre’s in Maharashtra. The aim of the project is to have a widespread impact on each centre ensuring holistic development of the child. This include refurbishment, wall painting, provision of storage space, upgrading kitchen facilities, providing mats, weighing scale, sanitation, utensils, water purifier, etc. Along with upgradation, stimulating and relevant education material is also prepared and shared with the Anganwadi centres. Children are encouraged to develop independence in work, learn to make decisions and choices and learn sharing of material.
We work together to improve the relationship between a child and a parent and to impact child’s growth in a way that makes him ready for formal schooling.