Preschool education activities in Anganwadi Centres
Anganwadis is defined as a government sponsored child-care and mother-care center in India. It caters to children in the 0-6 age group. During this research study, we met many anganwadi workers who were proud of their roles and aware of the importance of their work vis-à-vis children and mothers. It is also interesting to know how anganwadi workers define anganwadis based on their experiences. A dedicated National awardee anganwadi worker Rosy from Tamilnadu defines Anganwadi as “a public relation centre” where parents come, meet, interact and seek information regarding mother and child’s health, development and more importantly view it as an important preparatory ground to send their kids to in order to seek admission for their kids in regular school after their preschool years. It also serves as an important support for low class working mothers who are out in fields or at construction sites or some other projects which fetch them livelihood and attending to small kids is well taken care by Anganwadis.
When children come to Anganwadis, they bring life to Anganwadis. Aanganwadis smile. Anganwadis flower.
Best Tools used by Anganwadi Workers in Pre School Education
The traditional media and print media like Pictorial Materials are used for preschool education in Anganwadi Centres. It also assessed the suitability of the materials for Pre-School Education. Pictorial material was available for learning through play and meaningful activities in a developmental sequence. The forms in which it is available are Charts Flash card Counting Frames Picture Books
Low cost materials
Based on the region and availability Anganwadi workers are creating and producing Pre School learning material on their own. Lot of importance is given on color concepts that would be helpful in identifying basic colors while creating learning materials. For example in Orissa lot of pictorial charts would be decorated with sea shells and lentils. Lot of charts had pencil shells used to enhance the aesthetics and add texture. Cut and paste method was used to create animal faces and expressions. The animal and bird characters created by Anganwadi Centres in Orissa clearly stand out because of effective use of rice, pulses, jute, waste wood material and decorative jewellary items.
Among all the learning tools the most popular character stands out to be a bird. Bird as a tool and as a toy finds great connectivity with preschool children and a variety of learning materials have been using bird to convey different messages. These messages and learning outcomes vary from identifying colours to making kids aware about beak to wings to flight. Lot of poems revolves around birds and find an instant connectivity with kids of all ages.
Eye & Hand Coordination Tools
The tools aimed at strengthening eye and hand coordination among preschool children were the best in Anganwadis in Andhra Pradesh. They have designed special colourful tools for this purpose aimed at eye and hand coordination. It is made of soft board with holes drilled in this. A pencil size needle is there where woolen threads of different colours are used and the child is asked to weave this pencil and thread from one hole to the other. This is how kids work out their fingers and muscles in the hands. This tool helps children in eye – hand coordination. We also come to know whether child has blindness. Many learning outcomes are associated in the usage of this single tool.
Touch & Feel
An interesting learning material on “Sparsh Gyan” i.e Touch and Feel is worth mentioning in this study as it helped children to learn about the surfaces and their textures. Vocabulary like soft, hard, rough etc can be easily imparted using this tool where small circular pieces of different types of charts (velvet, glossy, rough etc) were pasted and Anganwadi worker is educated on how to use it with kids.