In our commitment to providing the best possible services to the children we serve, we constantly strive to evolve our services and training programs. Gnyandeep, our preschool teachers’ training program has come a long way. From its inception in 2006, Gnyandeep aims to create environments that foster the development of ALL children. With the initial focus on working preschool teachers, factors such as poor registrations and that fact that children with special needs are often identified first in their balwadis and preschools contributed to the shift in focus to training teachers from the grass root levels i.e. balwadis. Hence during the academic year 2015 – 2016, we trained 26 balwadi teachers from all 12 talukas in Goa with a focus on facilitating inclusion in anganwadis.
Teachers were provided with the Early Learning Kit from the Centre for Learning Resources (CLR), Pune which aids cognitive, language, numeracy and literacy skill development. Case studies helped us gauge their understanding and application of what the teachers learnt. It was heartening to hear that the teachers found the training very practical and relevant. The training phase of the project was followed by on-site visits to each of the balwadis. We traversed the length and breadth of Goa to observe our trained teachers apply their new knowledge and continue to refine this model. Watching the teachersand their helpers interact with the children through dance, songs, coversations and stories has left us in admiration. Their patience, coneection with the children and innovation using scarce materials is laudible. However, we are disturbed that many anganwadis are located in inadequate spaces that lack ventilation or sanitation and are trying to find ways to change this.
We look ahead as the torch of inclusive education reaches remote parts of Goa through the Gnyandeep project. We are grateful for the logistics provided by the Directorate of Women and Child Development and the financial backing of the Rotary Club, Panjim and Cipla Foundation.