Published: 14th March 2019
This early childhood education programme called Chaya tells us why one should invest in them
Smita Deshpande and Jennifer Vincent's early childhood education, Chaya, has become a huge success and they aim to introduce it in several schools across Hubballi and Dharwad
When Smita Deshpande and Jennifer Vincent decided to find out how many government schools in Hubballi and the surrounding villages taught children about hygiene, social etiquette, food, nutrition and so on, they were shocked to find that there were none. So, without taking too much time, the duo collaborated with Dr Nermeen Dashoush, Clinical Assistant Professor and Programme Co-Director for Early Childhood Education, Boston University and designed a programme that they named Chaya through which they could teach children concepts that were missing from the curriculum.
With the guidance of Deshpande Foundation, they introduced this programme as a pilot project in Sahasrarjun Kannada Higher Primary School in Hubballi. The programme not only trained the children but their teachers too who were informed about the importance of teaching topics like hygiene, social etiquette and English language. Apart from this, they were trained to teach lessons in a more engaging way so that children don't feel bored. Chaya, which was conducted only for a duration of 12 weeks, brought about an immense change in children. Some kids between three to five years of age went one step ahead to educate their parents about hygiene as well.
Make a difference: Renovating the classrooms or government school premises is one of the initiatives of Chaya
According to the research the duo conducted, investment in Early Childhood Education improves children's cognitive abilities and critical behavioural traits like sociability, motivation and self-esteem. “Early childhood is a crucial stage of life for a child's physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. This lays the foundation for success in academics and for their future. During our research, I realised that all children have the same needs no matter what their location and socio-economic status is. Hence, we decided to introduce this as a pilot project. It was just a 12-week programme, but the response we received from teachers, children and their parents was beyond our expectation," says Smita.
Summer is here: Under this initiative, they will be conducting summer camps for children from April 2 to 26
The duo now wishes to introduce the same programme in at least 50 schools and provide a teacher training programme for kindergarten teachers. "Programmes like Chaya are the way forward. The response we've received has encouraged us to take the next step towards introducing the teacher training programme for kindergarten teachers. Based on our experience, we strongly feel that guiding teachers and training them to adopt best practices is the next best step forward," concludes Jennifer.