A Study on newly developed Pre-Primary Curriculum transaction in Government Schools of Kamrup District , Assam

Sweety Bezboruah DPO(AS),Kamrup,Assam
Sweety Bezbaruah

Introduction : Early Childhood Care and Education ( ECCE) aims at providing adequate and appropriate opportunities to children for their all-round development and growth .it is during the early years that children start developing the cognitive ,physical ,social and emotional skills that they need to succeed in life .Research from around the world highlights the importance of early childhood education and suggests that high-quality early childhood education has the highest long-term returns in terms in terms of improved human development. How well children do in school, depends on how well they start .It also prepares them for formal learning and social adjustments in later life .Any kind of adverse experiences or an in appropriate environment can lead to long lasting detrimental effects on the child's development. Children with access to quality care and early childhood education are more likely to stay in school and completion of formal education on time. In Assam the preschool education has been running mainly by Social Welfare Dept. Govt of Assam through Integrated Child Development Services Scheme .Preschool Education is an important and crucial component of the scheme including children in the age group of 0-6 years under its ambit .Though preschool education is provided by ICDS scheme through Anganwadi center in Assam but still a huge number of students have been enrolled in Ka shreni in the age group of 5+ to below 6 years in Govt .formal school. In the year 1999 in Assam Preprimary section in the name of Ka shreni was introduced in formal schools by Govt.of Assam with existing teaching staff and existing infrastructure facility.

SCERT ,Assam has developed workbook and guidelines for ka shreni which was introduced in the year 1999.Workbooks are being distributed in every year but guideline cum curriculum could not be provided to each and every primary school which hinders proper implementation of pre-primary ( Ka-Shreni).Over the years ,it has been observed that the activities that are being transacted by majority of the preschools or pre-primary centres in our state is not developmentally appropriate for the young child. As a result, lay undue academic burden on preschoolers by stressing formal learning of reading, writing and number work.

In kamrup District we have 1473numbers of Govt .Provincialised School where Ka shreni was running with 13829.numbers of children in the academic year 2019.. Existing teachers of the schools are imparting pre-primary education among Ka shreni student. There is no specific curriculum for Ka Shreni in schools till 2019. .Teachers had not attained any training on early childhood education before 2019.Formal approach to teach 3Rs were followed in ka shreni .In Kamrup District in the year 2019 there were 3251 Anganwadi centers with 3022 Anganwadi workers where ECCE has been imparting for a long period but in both formal schools and centers ECE is imparting without proper and systematic approach.

Therefore, this study was an attempt to findout the present scenario of preschool education in government schools of Kamrup District of Assam.It was an action research where newly prepared ECCE curriculum has been applied for imparting early childhood education in project schools.

Key Term Definition:

Early Childhood :Early childhood is a stage in human development . early childhood defined as the period from birth to eight years old, is a time of remarkable growth with brain development at its peak. It generally includes toddlerhood and some time afterwards .Play age is an unspecific designation approximately within the scope of early childhood.

Early Childhood Care and Education: Early childhood care and education ( ECCE) is more than preparation for primary school .It aims the holistic development of a child's social ,emotional ,cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing.

Curriculum in Early Childhood Education :In Early childhood education and care ,the word curriculum means different things to different people. It can mean all philosophies ,programs ,approaches ,or specific materials and activities can provide the curriculum foundation necessary for high quality care.

Justification:

SCERT ,Assam has developed the ECE curriculum in the light of National ECCE Curriculum Framework,2013 which was developed by MWCD after formulation of the National ECCE policy. It is also based on curriculum of ECE developed NCERT, New Delhi. What is practised normally in the name of preschool education is not necessarily what has been envisaged in the National Policy on Education ( 1986)or in the National ECCE policy (2013).the basic philosophy and methodology of early childhood education are generally being ignored.

Therefore an appropriate pedagogy for transacting the curriculum for preschool teachers who are the main service providers is highly desired for effective implementation of pre-primary education in the state.It is aimed to promoting quality and excellence in early childhood education by providing guidelines for practices that would promote optimum learning and development in children up to six years .So It was felt need to orient the pre primary teacher towards the newly developed pre-primary curriculum.

It is expected that Pre-primary teachers will be trained up about appropriate curriculum practices and get the scope for understanding different pedagogical approaches/strategies for early childhood education which in turn make a preschool classroom qualitatively strong.

Objectives :

  • To study the infrastructure facility for ka shreni in Kamrup
  • To enable the teachers to understand the nature, aims and objectives of early childhood education.
  • To help teachers to interpret ideas and to diagnose issues of ECE.
  • To support and guide the teacher for adoption of pedagogical approaches/ practices to transact the newly developed curriculum.
  • To enable teachers to interpret and utilize the learning outcomes of preschool children mentioned in ECE curriculum more effectively when delivering.
  • To design in a simple way to build capacity in pre-school teachers on how to organise activities in various activity areas in more integrated manner.
  • To understand the programme which stimulates the total development of the child through play ,concrete activities ,discovery ,exploration and expression in a friendly ,caring atmosphere ,free of fear and anxiety.
  • To understand the role of teachers ,parents and community for growth ,development and learning of children.

Delimitation:

  1. The study was limited to 10(ten) schools of Kamrup District.
  2. The study was limited to Karara ,Kamalpur and Hajo Educational Block of Kamrup District.
  3. The study was limited to more than three teachers schools.

Review of Related Literature:

A study by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)May-2006,finds that the benefits of full-day preschool over half-day programmes are significant and concludes that "policy makers should strongly consider implementation of full-day preschool."

An article on "Early Childhood Matters:Evidence from the effective Pre-School and Primary Education Project " edited by Kathy Sylva ,Edward Melhuish ,Pam Sammons,Iram Siraj- Blatchford and Brenda Taggart in book Routledge2010;providesinsights into how home learning environments interact with pre-school and primary school experiences to shape children's progress.

A study on "Early childhood education in india :History ,trends ,issues and achievements" conducted by Jyotsna Pattnaik : reveals a brief overview of the traditional childrearing practices in India, and identifies goals that will shape the future of early childhood programs in India.

A comprehensive review of the progress made with respect to Education for all in India was conducted jointly by Government of India and the National University of Educational Planning and Administration(NUEPA).This paper gives insights that The ECCE stage itself has within it more than two distinct sub-stages,each with its own developmental priorities .ECCE can thus be further classified into the sub -stages of a) prenatal to two and a half to three years;b)3-4 years and c) 4 to 5/6 years.for the first sub-stage of prenatal to three years, the developmental priority is ensuring health and nutritional wellbeing of the mother and child,since this is the vulnerable stage for growth faltering and is also critical for brain development.This stage requires more of home targeted parent counselling in nutrition include the more structured school readiness elements.within this integrated framework,this paper focuses especially on the latter two sub-stages within Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE),i.e for 3-6 years olds.

Methodology:

  1. Method:In this present study Descriptive Survey method along with Experimental Method was followed .
  2. Population and Sample:The present study is to investigate the problems of teachers in imparting Early childhood care and education in Ka shreni .

    The sample for the study was 10 head of the institutions,10 teachers who taught in Ka- shreni,all children of Ka shreni,10 SMC/SMDC and 100 parents of 10 randomly selected children.For the purpose of identification of schools simple and unrestricted random sampling technique was adopted .100 parents of pupils was selected random cum purposively where either father or mother was interviewed for the study.

    List of School for ECCE programme ,Kamrup

    Sl No

    Block

    Name of School  

    Name of teacher

    Contect no of Teacher who teaches in ka shreni

    No of Student in ka shreni

    1

    Hajo

    Khuponikuchi LPS

    Pubali Das saikia

    8721924051

    22

    2

    Hajo

    Dadara Higher Secondary

    Kalyani Deka

    8486377820

    20

    3

    Karara

    15 No.Bezera LPS

    Namita Lahkar

    9101655197

    20

    4

    Karara

    56 No. MandakataNadirpar LPS

    Rashida Begum

    8473041058

    20

    5

    Karara

    62 No Amingaon LPS

    Swapna Talukder

    7399686360

    50

    6

    Karara

    Amingaon Bengali LPS

    Tandra Dey,Doyel Dasgupta.

    9577680046

    50

    7

    Karara

    ChoukiAnchalik HS

    Nirupoma Devi

    9854726149

    23

    8

    Karara

    SalmaraPrathamik LPS

    Suchila Hazarika

    9531302752

    20

    9

    Kamalpur

    64 no.Alekajari LPS

    Diganta Deka

    9864432261

    20

    10

    Kamalpur

    Tengabari LPS

    Suravi Das

    9707012571

    20

    Total-

     

     

     

     

     

  3. Tools:

    A. Questionnaire cum Interview schedule: for head of the institution and teachers. For Pre-test and Post test to know the awareness of systematic ECE class transaction in formal schools.
    B. Interview schedule for teachers, parents ,SMC/SMDC: In the present study the members of SMC/SMDC, Teachers ,Parents of preschool students were interviewed one by one  to know the  community awareness on importance of ECCE for their children .The interviews were unstructured.
    C. Observation sheet. It is more natural way of gathering data .It i sa refined technique of research .Restriction in questionnaire and interview are missing in observation. Therefore, in the present study  Classroom observation was conducted to observe  the new methods of teaching by ka shreni teachers apart from formal teaching in primary classes.

    D. Record keeping sheet: Ka shreni teachers maintained records of students learning out comes in registers and they maintained portfolio of every child where the works of particular children were kept.
  4. Data Collection:

    Data were collected from 10 schools of 3 blocks of Kamrup district of Assam .The investigator personally visited the schools and filled up questionnaires.

    The questionnaire cum interview schedule for teachers is a self  reporting which was close type and had two main parts .the first part delt with the background information of the school and the second part of the schedule dealt with the relative information about pre-primary class of the school.

    The second questionnaire cum interview schedule was for Teacher who teaches in pre-primary and it was both open and closed type had two main parts .The first part dealt with the demographic characteristics of the respondent like name, year of joining as teacher, caste ,religion ,information on training received etc .The second part of schedule dealt with the pedagogical process in pre-primary class.

    Observation schedule was prepared and classroom transaction was observed by the investigator.

    A whatsaap group was created and through uploading of daily classroom transaction in the form of video was analysed thoroughly and instant support was given by DIET faculty and other resource persons.

1. Intervention: 1.One day Dist.Level Discussion with teachers who got one day Montessori Training from RGVN in 2017
2. One day district level discussion with District Administration (Kamrup), Joint Director SCERT, DSWO( kamrup),IS cum DDC RMSA ,Kamrup, DEEO( Kamrup) ,Principal DIET ( Kamrup) ,Head of the selected schools-March’2019
3. 4days training on ECCE for one selected teacher of sample schools who teaches in ka shreni-April’2019
4. Formation of Whatsup group with Preprimary teachers ,head of the institution ,DIET faculty, SSA personals to discuss on going teaching learning process in Pre primary classes of project schools.
5. Exposure visit of teachers to Jatiyo Vidyalaya Noonmati,Panbazar Adarsha L.P.-In June’2019
6. Imparting ECE in schools with new curriculum .-Feb’2019
7.Meeting with SMC/SMDC,Parents of learners.-APRIL’2019; AUGUST’2019,        NOVEMBER 2019
8.Home Visit-MARCH’2019 andAugust2019
9.Open Evaluation of Learners.- June 2019,November 2019
10.Report Preparation-December’2019
Four Days training of pre-primary teachers on activities for pre-primary education, newly developed curriculum for ka and kha shreni , daily routine for ka shreni ,evaluation of learners etc.
Exposure Visit To One Govt, School namely Panbazar Adarsha LPS,Kamrup (Metro) on 17th June2019 and one private school having pre-primary classes namely Assam jatiyaBidyalaya, Noonmati on 18th June2019. Teachers got experience on teaching methodology in pre-primary class. Teacher got first hand experience on pre-primary classroom and teaching methodology and TLM .
First open Periodic Evaluation was conducted in last week of June in all 10 schools in the presence of community.It is an innovativative practice of each teacher .They organised exhibition of portfolios of learners,decoration of classroom with children work and made the classroom as print rich area.
During June as lots of local fruits are available in assam like mango,jack fruits ,blackberry, guava etc but children refuse to have these.Therefore in ka shreni project school  organised samriti vujan of fruits donated by community among children.
One documentary on classroom transaction of these 10 schools was prepared in the month of Sep2019to document the progress of learners and curricular base Ka shreni teaching methodology.
All these activities of ka shreni learners were observed by SSA officials time to time with observation sheet.
Home visit to children’s residence was conducted in the month of August ( just after summer vacation) to ask parents on average daily activities of learners during summer vacation .Interestingly majority of parents reported that children were eager to go to school during holidays also. They drew many things in scrap books. they learned pre number concept like tall ,short ,long short, heavy light etc.
In the month of November 2019 more emphasis was given on word games, rhymes, how to solve puzzles  ,letter recognition .sound discrimination and practice for two /three letters.

  • Post test was conducted in the month of December with the same questionnaire and interview schedule .

 

Analysis  and interpretation of data

  • A qualitative approach has been adapted to present data.
  • Pre-test was conducted in the selected schools in temonth of February 2019 and after analysis of data it was felt to organise followinw activities as intervention:

Results And Discussion-The analysed data is presented in the form of tables and figures. The interpretation of data is  presented and discussion is done.
Discussion and Findings:
Following are the age and developmentally appropriate practices and quality pedagogical instruction observed in the classrooms of the schools:-

  • Activities for pre-reading, pre-writing, listening and speaking are planned and implemented according to children’s needs
  • All areas of development (sensory and perceptual, physical-motor, language, cognitive, creative and aesthetic, socio-emotional) are offered in an integrated manner
  • Children use learning materials (culturally relevant and region specific) in the class
  • Learning/activity corners available and the children can play according to their interests.
  • Age appropriateness activities are ensured by teachers.
  •  Guided activities and free play for children are provided
  • Teachers inculcate disciplinary and hygiene related habits in children, such as washing hands before and after meals, putting materials back in their place after using them, etc.
  • Regular checking of personal grooming of children

Following are some of the activities used by the teachers for all round development of children in their schools

  • Threading, tearing, cutting, pasting, drawing, colouring, painting, paper folding, clay work, sorting, pattern making, manipulative materials are used for fine muscle development.
  • Balancing, running, jumping, creeping, crawling, rolling, hopping, rhythmic movement, playing with ball, throwing, catching and kicking are the activities for  gross motor development.
  • Activities like narrating stories to children, conversation on picture/theme, helping children follow simple instructions, recalling the story, simple riddles, spotting the odd man out. Action rhymes, dramatisation, picture reading, vocabulary related to home, body, fruits, vegetables,  etc. have done for  development of listening and speaking skills.
  • Activities like identification and discrimination of sounds in the environment, identification of beginning  sounds, rhyming words, matching, odd-man-out, spotting the difference, classifying objects/pictures of objects beginning with a given sound, matching pictures with verbal words, etc. for  developing reading and writing readiness.
  • Memory games, ’what is missing activity’, activities involving observation and recall of observation such as  classification activities with objects, picture cards, etc., games involving sequential thinking, solving picture puzzles and mazes, activities involving solving problems, relationship cards example, cup and plate, brush and tooth paste, etc. for cognitive development.
  • Activities like drawing, colouring, painting,  tearing, cutting and pasting, collage making, clay modelling, paper folding, action rhymes, dramatic and free play, etc. are for creative and aesthetic development.
  • Encouraging children to ask questions, small group play activities (to learn to interact, to organise a play in cooperation with each other), celebration of festivals and birthdays activities, stories/ puppet play/ dramatisation to expose the concept of old/ needy/ disabled, etc., for socio-personal development of the child.

Following are the observations on planning and classroom organization:

  • Day’s programme well planned and arranged materials accordingly.
  • The materials was kept in such a way that they are easily approachable so that children can pick them on their own and use them
  • Children’s artwork and handicrafts were displayed on the walls at the eye-level of children
  • Opportunities have  given  to work and play in groups
  • Opportunities have given  to all children in creative activities, to sing rhymes and song
  • Free and guided activities are provided under supervision
  • Daily activities for writing  and reading readiness
  • Teacher uses the languages understood by children for interaction within classroom
  • The classes are organised in such a way that there is a space in the classroom for performing both large and small group activities
  • There is a large, covered floor area for children to sit for engaging in different large and small group activity.

Following are some of the methods adopted by the schools for assessment of child’s learning:

  • Children’s learning and development was observed by teachers and kept record of how progress is made
  • Specific intervention for individual child, was provided by using information from observation.
  •  Different tools and strategies were used that are continuous, ongoing  and the language is easily understood by children
  •  progress cards, developmental checklists, etc. were used to compile observations of children
  •  Portfolios of children, containing anecdotal records, developmental checklists, sample of drawing, writing and other activities were properly maintained.
  • Records of children’s attendance, leave and absence are kept and regularly updated.
  • Documentation/portfolio of every child’s performance and progress is done and made available to parents
Parent-teacher  meeting are held in which there is exchange of information about the child and the knowledge is used to follow up appropriately

 

Learning Experiences:

  1. Building capacity within the school is extremely enjoyable for developing a model school for pre-primary education
  2. Synergy amongst students, teachers & community is of utmost importance if the Pre-primary Education has to succeed.
  3. Curriculum cum teacher’s guide is  essential for transacting  the age and developmentally appropriate practices

Educational Implications:
SCERT,Assam has already developed ECE curriculum in the light of National ECCE Curriculum Framework. It is also based on curriculum of ECE developed by NCERT, New Delhi. Learning outcomes for Pre-primary I and II which were incorporated in curriculum is fixed by keeping relevance with learning outcomes of primary level (class I).So if the concept of learning outcomes is adopted for transaction of curriculum,  the children of pre-primary would be benefited and it will also help for smooth transition of children to primary classes.
Conclusion

A drastic change in the pre-primary classroom in all these ten schools is evident in terms of age and developmentally appropriate practices and quality pedagogical instruction for all round development of children, planning classroom organization and methods adopted by the schools for assessment of the child’s learning. In this regard, remarkable efforts are being made at the Government level through SCERT and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), Assam for proper implementation and practices of the ECE curriculum. It is expected that if the curriculum is appropriate and the teachers are suitably trained about curriculum practices and understanding of different pedagogical approaches/strategies for early childhood education, it will definitely enhance the quality of the pre-school classroom in terms of producing quality children.