The early years of a child are the foundation for their future development as it provides a solid base for lifelong learning and learning abilities, including cognitive and social development. Early childhood education is a crucial phase as 90 per cent child's brain develops before age six. It has been ignored for a very long in India, but today, parents have started sending their kids to pre-schools to understand the importance of early childhood education.
The children from low-income communities are still excluded from providing better resources and conditions for early education. The early years (0 to 8 years) are the most extraordinary period of growth and development in a child's lifetime, and the foundations of all learning are laid during these years.
The proper guidance in the early years carries substantial future benefits for children in terms of better learning in school and higher educational attainment, which results in significant social and economic gains for society. Good quality early learning, early childhood education and early childhood development (ECD) can not only help reduce the chances of dropout and repetition but also improve outcomes at all education levels, which will help minimise unemployment in the country.
Uplifting Low-Income Communities
The issue of unemployment in a country like India is still prevalent at a high level due to the lack of accessible education in rural areas and job opportunities for graduates. The country's unemployment rate in June 2022 was 7.80 per cent, according to the data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
The Key Education Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, came into existence to tackle the issue and provide early education to all underprivileged children. It focuses on Early Childhood Education (ECE), one of the largest unregulated spaces in Indian Education. Their theory of change leverages the collective action of three stakeholders- schools, teachers, and parents to ensure developmentally appropriate practices at school and home.
This purpose-driven organisation works with children from low-income communities to ensure they get the best Early Childhood Education. The Co-Founder and CEO of Key Education Foundation, Mangal Pandey, said, "Excellent Early Childhood education is like a strong foundation to a building. The stronger it is, the better it will hold all that comes after it."
While sharing with The Logical Indian, the NGO claimed that they had impacted more than 8,000 students, 500 teachers, and over 8,000 families through several initiatives. The mission is to ensure age-appropriate, holistic development of children such that they are school ready before they enter 1st grade.
The organisation ties up with schools and delivers its 'School Readiness Program' where they work with the children, teachers, and parents in the school directly.
The organisation's expertise lies in equipping schools with age-appropriate, contextual, play-based curriculum and teaching materials to deliver quality pre-primary education. It also empowers the teachers through a capacity-building and coaching program, so they have the knowledge, skills, and mindsets to transform their classroom using Developmentally Appropriate Practices.
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