Developing Inclusion in Anganwadis (pre-schools)

  • To create an inclusive environment in anganwadis (preschool crèches) for all children
  • To prepare all children attending anganwadi centres for primary education
  • To identify and support children with developmental disabilities
  • To provide adequate clinical assessment and intervention for all children identified with developmental disabilities

Child development research has established that the rate of human learning and development is most rapid in preschool years. The timing of any intervention becomes particularly important when a child runs the risk of missing the opportunity to learn in a state of maximum readiness. If the stages of greatest readiness are not taken advantage of, a child may have difficulty in learning a particular skill at a later time.

What We Did:
The Developing Inclusion in Anganwadis (DIA) project which started in 2007, in Ponda taluka, and concluded in May 2008, explored the acceptability of implementing the Portage model through the anganwadi network to promote development of children aged 0 – 6 years, in Goa.

The Portage curriculum views each child as having his/her own developmental trajectory.It is a guide to early childhood care and development, an early intervention and stimulation program strategy for all children, flexible to include even children with disabilities in the 0-6 age group.

During this project the Konkani language version of the Portage program was developed and field tested and one hundred and twenty anganwadi workers were trained in Ponda taluka on identifying red flags for common child hood disabilities. They were taught to provide simple home based early interventions.

A number of outreach health camps were organized and networks were established for future work with children with developmental disabilities. And the acceptability and feasibility of the Portage curriculum was assessed in one taluka of Goa.

The approach provided the Anganwadi Worker (AWW) the flexibility to let all children, including those with special needs and disabilities, acquire skills at their own pace. Through the programme they could identify children with special needs and also advice parents on use of simple activities of early intervention.

Facilitator demonstrating the activities to
the anganwadi teachers