e-School for Preschool: Changing the face of education
“Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love and send them forth in freedom”.
According to UNICEF(1), school children around the world have lost an estimated 1.8 trillion hours and counting of in-person learning since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Disruption to learning, particularly in the formative years, has been significantly impacted. It is the youngest learner in the family who often goes without access to education, due to financial barriers or limited or no access to technological devices. Thus, to reduce the negative impact on the following years of schooling, it is critical to minimise learning loss for preschool-age students.
In response to this, Aga Khan Education Service, India (AKES,I) developed a research-based and technology-driven home-based blended learning ‘e School for Preschool’ programme for children aged 3 to 6 years. AKESI has been delivering early childhood development programmes since 1978 and is ranked amongst the country’s top 10 most respected education and early childhood education brands.
e-School for Preschool is based on the concept of Shishu Pahel Paddhati®, a child-initiated learning approach, which provides opportunities for physical, emotional and social development. Parental involvement has been key to the success of the programme. Teachers have curated thematic student learning packs with a robust teaching and learning feedback process. A low student-teacher ratio (15:1) maintains a focus on quality learning. Staying true to best practice, the programme also adheres to the recommended screen time by the World Health Organisation, ensuring a balanced approach to remote learning.
Designed by AKESI early childhood experts, the learning packs include a rich collection of resources, such as: graded reading books, flashcards, vocabulary cards, reusable tracing sheets, art materials and resources for science projects. Reflecting on the project, Tasneem Janjali, Pre-primary Section Head at the Diamond Jubilee High School, Mumbai remarked:
“e-School for Preschool was the need of the hour. Parents and students were excited to learn that school was coming home through a learning pack. The synchronous and asynchronous experiences were meaningfully planned to optimise student learning. Each class was interactive with multiple platforms used to engage the child. Students loved activities like Spin the Wheel on platforms like Toy Theatre. The excitement ensured high attendance and excellent participation”.
With programmes such as this, AKESI aims to empower its students and keep learning alive during these unprecedented times. e-School for Preschool strives to dissolve barriers to knowledge and improve accessibility, by connecting with students and parents through different channels. One of the parents echoed this sentiment and remarked:
“Students are encouraged to think aloud and fearlessly share their thoughts. Prayansh has shown significant improvement in his ability to identify a word based on its letter sounds. He looks forward to doing the learning pack activities and sharing it with his teacher. Special thanks to the school management for making quality learning accessible to all, during these challenging times.”
Photos (top to bottom):
- Ruqaiya, age 4, using a reading worksheet at home.
- Musa, age 4, identifying, tracing, and practicing numbers using a number worksheet.
- Reyaan, age 4, practicing letter sounds and drawing objects that correspond to the given letters.