Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal launched “Khel Pitara” Lots, aimed at strengthening foundational learning at Anganwadis. The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) kits named as “Khel Pitara” have been developed by SCERT Delhi. On Thursday, at an event organised at the Thyagaraj stadium, the Delhi CM launched the kits in presence of about 5500 Anganwadi workers, supervisors, CDPOs. Women and Child Development Minister Ms Atishi and senior officials of SCERT were also present on the occasion.
During the launch event, Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal emphasised the importance of bridging the gap in quality education between underprivileged children attending Anganwadi centres and children from more affluent backgrounds attending private crèches. He stressed the government’s commitment to providing excellent facilities and learning opportunities to underprivileged children at par with those available in private crèches. To enhance the skills of Anganwadi workers, Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal announced that similar to the teachers in government schools, Anganwadi workers would be sent for training in prominent institutions. He also shared that the government is determined to free Anganwadi workers from non-teaching tasks, enabling them to focus more on the children’s educational needs and development. The Chief Minister also highlighted the government’s commitment to continuous improvement, stating that it will actively seek feedback on the impact of the Early Childhood Education Kit and make necessary improvements as needed.
The ‘Khel Pitara’ Kits will be distributed across 11,000 Anganwadi centres in Delhi, with 7,500 centres having already received the kits.The kit is a valuable tool in fostering holistic development among young learners. By engaging children in diverse activities, such as cognitive games, physical play, and interactive storytelling, the kit supports the development of cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and language skills, laying a strong foundation for their overall growth. Through hands-on, interactive, and exploratory play, the kit enhances creativity, problem solving abilities, and critical thinking in children. Additionally, the social interaction and collaboration that occurs when children play together contribute to the development of important social skills like sharing, communication, and teamwork.
Addressing the gathering, Shri Arvind Kejriwal congratulated every person who was involved in the development of this magnificent kit. “First of all I would like to congratulate the SCERT for presenting this wonderful kit to the Anganwadi teachers of Delhi. I had heard about the kit earlier and seen the documents regarding its planning, but today when it was launched and they shared the objects in the kit, I was amazed by it. I have been informed that this kit was designed after studying the early childhood programs in not just India, but across the world. It consists of learning material as well as objects for play and entertainment of children,” he said.
He added, “From the very beginning, our objective has been to ensure the best kind of education to all the children, irrespective of whether they come from a rich or a poor family. Until very recently, the pattern in our country was such that the children of poor families would go to the government school, while those of rich families would go to private schools. The education system in the government school was poor and therefore the children from poor families remained poor and the gap between the rich and the poor continued to increase.”
The Delhi CM said that the first priority of the AAP-led state government was to improve the condition of government schools in the city. “So, therefore as soon as we formed the government in Delhi, our first step was to improve the condition of government schools in the city. Today there is barely any difference in the quality of education received in the government and private schools. In fact, you come across several families who are taking their children out of private schools and admitting them in the government schools in Delhi.”
He added, “Our government schools in Delhi begin from Class 6 onwards. So, we always hoped that if we formed the government at the MCD then the schools with classes upto Class 6 will also be under us. Then the Gods listened to us and we went on to win in the MCD. Now the process to build good primary schools upto Class 5 has also begun. The responsibility of developing these young children who eventually go on to join the MCD school in Class 1 lies with you all Anganwadi teachers gathered here today.”
Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that the ultimate goal of the state government is to remove any distinction between a government Anganwadi centre and a private crèche. “It is usually the poor families that send their children to the Anganwadis in Delhi. The rich families usually send their children to creches for early childhood programs. Our aim is to end the difference between these two places. We want the children of poor families coming to these Anganwadi to get the same facilities and learning processes that the children in the best of private crèches in the city receive,” he said.
He added, “It is sometimes said that the person who gives birth may be different from the person who goes on to “mother” the child. The role played by the Anganwadi teachers is no less than that played by the mother of the child. When a 3-year-old child comes to an Anganwadi center and spends a lot of time here, this becomes the space of his or her primary learning. As these children come from poor families, there is an atmosphere of tension at home. The adults at home have their own worries and the siblings have their own fights due to lack of resources. So, when a young child from this atmosphere comes to the Anganwadi centre, it becomes his or her little oasis.”
He emphasized on the early education system for a young child and said, “Research on early childhood education shows that as much as 85 percent of what an individual learns during the course of their lives, it is learnt until the age of 6 years. This involves key aspects such as learning a language and signs and so on. So in many ways, how a child grows up to be depends on the environment that he or she receives in these Anganwadi centres.”
Shri Arvind Kejriwal highlighted some important aspects that the state government wants to change when it comes to the Angandwadi centres in Delhi. “Until now the focus of the Anganwadi was centred around the children coming and the teachers feeding them. It was looked upon as a space to fulfill their nutritional needs – “poshan” was a key element involved over here. But we want to change this mindset a little. We want the Anganwadi to be an early childhood learning centre. We want the children to be educated through the medium of games and their value system and psychological needs should be catered to as well,” he said.
He added, “I firmly believe that in comparison the task of a teacher in an Anganwadi is more difficult as compared to a professor who teaches in the final year of an engineering college. Teaching children in an engineering college is certainly easier than looking after needs of a young child.”
The Delhi CM received the loudest applause from the gathering here when he said that the state government also wants to send Anganwadi teachers for training to prestigious educational institutions across the country and the world. “We often send teachers and principals of our government schools for training to well-known education institutions across India and the world. Similarly, I would also urge the education department and the WCD to send our Anganwadi teachers for training to similar institutions. We want our Anganwadi teachers to be further trained and to have the best skill set required to educate our young minds. There are 11,000 Anganwadi centres across Delhi in which around 1.75 lac young children learn. Since they are here for a duration of three years, we can assume that every year 60,000 children leave the Anganwadis and around the same number enter it every year,” he said.
He also said that the state government will ensure that teaching remains the primarily responsibility of the Anganwadi centres and that they are not tasked with other tasks. “When we formed the government in Delhi for the first time, the teachers in our government schools spent 80 percent of their time in non-teaching activities. They were involved in doing the ground work for a lot of surveys and other tasks of the Delhi Government. So, we took the decision to solely involve the teachers only in teaching related activity and not any other activity. I firmly believe that this is what needs to be done with the teachers of the Anganwadis as well. They are often tasked with lots of non-teaching activities. We believe that if these extra activities are taken away from them, the teachers will solely be able to focus on the education of the children,” he said.
He added, “When I interacted separately with the Anganwadi teachers, the impression that I got after hearing about their routine engagements was that the focus was not on teaching our children. Often the other tasks become primary and the responsibility of teaching the children becomes secondary.”
He concluded, “I would like to congratulate the Education Department, WCD and the SCERT department for presenting this khel pitara to us. This is a very innovative way to reach our children and we will continue to take feedback from the Anganwadi teachers about this new kit. Just as Education Minister Ms Atishi earlier said that people from not just across the country, but across the world are coming to Delhi to look at the education model of the state government in the government schools of Delhi. I firmly believe that in the near future, perhaps in another 1-2 years, there will be a time when leaders from across the world will come to visit the Anganwadi centres in Delhi.”
While addressing the Anganwadi workers, WCD Minister Ms Atishi said, “The world-class Early Childhood Education Kit being launched by the Kejriwal Government today will revolutionise early childhood education. Often, when there are children in our family or around us, we buy expensive toys and books for them. However, I am pleased that now, excellent quality games, toys, puzzles, and books will be available in our 11,000 Anganwadis too for them”.
She added that the age at which the child attends Anganwadi is crucial. Research shows that the brain development of children is most significant up to the age of 6 years. The children who are attending Anganwadis will become engineers, scientists, authors, lawyers, etc in the future but it is in our hands to make their basics strong and lay the foundation for the future.
Today, the Kejriwal Government is launching an Early Childhood Education Kit, which is based on the principles of how children want to learn. It has been designed to teach children through big pictures, play, singing, and touching toys. She said that now traditional methods of teaching maths to children will not be used, but they will be taught through creative activities at Anganwadis.
She said, “A child’s first teacher is their mother and for those children who go to Anganwadi, their second teachers are Anganwadi workers. The workers must always remember that the children who come to Anganwadi, whom they are teaching, nurturing, and educating, are the future of this country.”
She said that the play kit being provided to all Anganwadi workers today is not just a set of toys; it is a way to build the future of the country. She mentioned to the workers that when they sit with the children, they must solve puzzle games, and play with them which will ignite children’s interest in mathematics and other subjects. Who knows, maybe from one of Delhi’s Anganwadis, the country’s next A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Kalpana Chawla may emerge one day.
The WCD Minister said that not only the Kejriwal Government but the country also has high hopes from dedicated Anganwadi workers. She said, “The children who come to our Anganwadi to play and learn often come from poor social backgrounds where their parents may not be able to contribute much to their education. Many parents work tirelessly from morning to night, and some may not even know how to read and write. Therefore, the responsibility of the Anganwadi teams sitting here today becomes even more significant because they are the ones who can teach these children and provide them with a better future. They are the ones who can give them a quality education and a promising tomorrow.”
She said that the government has complete faith in Anganwadi workers that they will improve their centres such that people from the world over will come to see them. Today people from all over the world come to see Delhi government schools and soon they will come to see Delhi Anganwadis.
WCD Minister said, “Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s dream is to provide world-class education even to the poorest of the poor children. We are pleased that children are already receiving an excellent education and I hope that the same enthusiasm and dedication will be seen in all the Anganwadis from now on.”