Foundational Learning

Under National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, for universal access to Early Childhood Children Education (ECCE), there is provision to roll-out ECCE in all the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs).

NEP 2020 focuses on two components when it comes to ECCE. The first component is about strengthening the curricular and pedagogical framework for early childhood education with the help of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), and the second one is about building high-quality infrastructure with well-trained teachers.

Thus there is a need to strengthen Anganwadi Centres, high-quality infrastructure, play equipment and well trained Anganwadi Workers for an enriched learning environment.

As per the policy document, there is a need to prepare an initial cadre of high quality ECCE teachers by training current Anganwadi Workers through systematic efforts according to the curricular and pedagogical framework developed by NCERT.

Also, an Expert Committee set up by the Ministry to recommend age appropriate curriculum for children in the age group of 3-6 years, has already submitted its report.

The focus of the curriculum is on early stimulation (0-3 years) and early childhood care and education ECCE (3-6 years).

Earlier this week, the Centre informed the Parliament in the ongoing winter session that as on 30th June, 2022, 3.03 crore children in the age group of 3-6 years have access to ECCE through Anganwadi Centres across the country.

To promote play based, experiential and child friendly approach to development, a National Curricular Framework for ECCE was developed by Government to support the holistic development of children for Sensory and Perceptual Development; Physical, Health and Motor Development; Language Development; Cognitive Development; Development of Creative and Aesthetic Appreciation and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. At a national level, the government said, a series of sample activity books were developed to support the above domains, separately for ages 3 to 4, 4 to 5 and 5 to 6. Anganwadis are also provided with Pre-School Education Learning Kits to support children’s development. The ECCE Policy also recommends promotion of the use of traditional songs, stories, lullabies, folk tales, local toys and games as play and learning material in ECCE settings.

The government said assessment cards were developed for Anganwadi workers for formative and continuous assessment of children’s progress on a quarterly basis with separate cards for children in each age group. The Scheme Guidelines on `Mission Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0′, covers the requirements for pre-school learning to make all pre-schoolers at Anganwadi Centres, school ready. While policy interventions are welcome, there is need to work continuously to ensure strengthening of the foundational learning for the holistic development of children.

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