Shiksha program is pre dominantly based on the premise that “In the first 3 years of life, children’s brains are far more active than those of university students. Just as their bodies need breast milk, their brains need affection, stimulation, and meaningful interaction – language, touch, eye contact, exploration, play.
The more they get these things, the more successfully they will learn to decipher and classify objects, identify language patterns and make themselves understood, and develop relationships based on trust.
These are the kinds of cognitive, social and emotional skills that underpin the passage through school and productive life. Children’s neurological development in early life is a continuous process, as all learning builds on things learned before. Play is a major contributor to cognitive and social development.”
Nirav Modi Foundation launched “Shiksha Play Group” its first preschool in 2007 and eventually started its second centre in 2010. Today both these centres run in 3 shifts for 2 hours each and cater to 120 children in the age group of 2 ½ to 3 ½ year. Both these centres are located in Saat Rasta slum area in South Mumbai.
Why Shiksha Play Group?
We believe that when children come to school ready to learn, they have a better opportunity to succeed in school and ultimately in life. School readiness does not mean accomplishment of rote learning. School readiness includes such characteristics as children showing curiosity and enthusiasm, having social maturity appropriate to their age, being healthy and well nourished, and being able to verbally communicate needs, wants, and thoughts. A “ready child” has social, emotional, physical, and cognitive abilities that will facilitate his or her transition from early childhood education to the next stages of learning and development.
Shiksha Program Objectives are based on the principles of Montessori methodology:
● Make a successful transition from home to school
● Feel comfortable and secure in school
● Develop social competency with peers and adults
● Develop a positive self-concept, respect for others & their ideas
● Encourage each child to play and work well independently and in a group
● Provide opportunities for self-expression for each child through language, dramatics, art, music, and play
● Stimulate imagination, develop an interest in learning & exploring
● Provide opportunities for large and small motor development
● Provide opportunities for interacting with a wide variety of materials that promote abstract and deductive reasoning
● Introduce the concept and use of numbers and letters through a variety of experiences
● Foster physical development through healthy nutrition supplement.
● Periodic monitoring of health status of a child.
Shiksha play group is situated in Saat Rasta area in Byculla (E) which is a densely populated area. It provides preschool facility in English language. It is primarily catering to children from low income families who wish to get enrolled in English medium school in mainstream education system.
At Shiksha Field Visits are also considered pivotal. Visits to nearby Police Station, Fire brigade, Vegetable Market, Post Office, etc.
Annual health check up of children is conducted to diagnose ailment which could be taken care of at early stages.
Celebration of Festivals has been an integral part of the preschool program. Festivals like Holi, Diwali, Christmas, Ganapati, Navaratri are celebrated at the centre where children are given information on importance of these festivals.
Parents meetings are held periodically to share progress of every child with their mothers thereby enhancing parents’ involvement in the overall development of these children.
A team of dedicated and trained teachers is a very strong pillar of this program. 1: 10 student-teacher ratio is always maintained in the centre. A batch of 20 students is handled by 2 teachers and 1 helper. Our teachers are trained and in service training is an ongoing activity. Boys and girls ratio is 60:40. Shiksha play group gives admission to any students irrespective of caste, religion and language who quality’s family income criteria of Rs. 5000/- pm. A formal home visit is made prior to admission to verify the need.
Impact: Till date Nirav Modi Foundation has nurtured 540 children who have benefitted from this program. All of them are enrolled in local private English medium schools. Nirav Modi Foundation continues to serve children and their families with quality education and nutrition program.