‘Take a perfectly healthy child – and leave it in a jungle, nobody talks to it for the first 3 years – the child struggles to learn language later on’ -Dr. Shekhar Seshadri, Senior Professor, NIMHANS
School education has always been a pivotal concern for the future of every child. But early childhood plays a crucial role in building the foundational blocks for the children. Experts reveal how early experiences influence the development of the brain, the various domains of development that happen in children in these years and how the experiences in these sensitive periods have a lasting impact well into the school years, adolescence and adulthood.
Early childhood education is basically for children between the ages of three and five. It is similar to a training program given to young children. During class, children will gain the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development needed in order to help them have a brighter future.
Citing the importance of Early Childhood Care and Education, the new announced National Education policy included it as a mandate and proposed its implementation. The NEP also states how the ECCE is not only the great Equalizer, but also the greatest Enhancer in building a strong foundation for a child.
However, with any forward-looking policy, the biggest concern is always around effective implementation. Hence the time is ripe for the education system and the ecosystem to come together and prepare towards effective implementation.
To catalyse this process of coming together, ideating and solving together, ShikshaLokam had conceptualised and curated a unique experience called ‘The Unbundle Series’. The series is an attempt to unbundle and demystify the deep nuances of the NEP focusing on important areas such as ECCE, Foundational learning etc.
The first part of the series focused on demystifying ECCE, building a shared understanding of the NEP recommendations, best practices and to drive constructive solution driven conversations on its different aspects in collaboration with domain experts and CSOs.
“One of the most important reasons to start the Unbundle Series was to make discussion around NEP move towards actionable solutions. With respect to the ECCE series, not only did we bring informed awareness about the importance of ECCE but also saw the emergence of solutions that had potential to succeed on ground”, said Neeraj Doddamane, Operations Lead - South, ShikshaLokam.
The sessions, (webinar and ideathon) saw panelists from across the education ecosystem, including Chittaranjan Kaul, Director of Centre for Learning Resources; Dr. Venita Kaul, Founder and former director of CECED; . Lata Menon, Educational Consultant; Smitin Brid, Program director, ECCE at Pratham; Rekha Menon, Program Manager, Centre for Learning Resources.
Apart from that, the Design Thinking workshop - ECCE Ideathon also saw an influx of enthusiasts who participated in building solutions for implementation of NEP and also presenting the same. Swarupa Manjunatha, Student from Azim Premji University thought the need for such a platform where everyone would come together to address an important issue was ‘very important as many ideas could be shared and later implemented with the help of each other’. “Collaborative work brings together a lot of interesting people from different backgrounds which means solutions formed might also be more rounded, “ said another participant, Sowbhagya Varma, Student, Azim Premji University.
In terms of implementation of the solution building ideas explored in the ideathon, Sayantan Chaudhary, a Teach for India Alumni, said, “I have implemented the Theory of change in my community as part of my own intervention ECCE (0-3 YEARS), called Dawn Child.”
Thus, like someone had once said, ‘Simple things bring great change’, our attempt to create a platform for people to come and discuss and ideate has definitely transformed the minds of many.