Early Learner's Development Program (ELDP)

The tribal population in Wada Taluka of Palghar district consists of farmers with marginal or no land holdings. They also migrate to work in brick factories, local farms and non-farming enterprises in the district. It is very common in Wada for the locals to migrate for work with the entire family. This socio- economic hindrance has left their children, between the ages of 0-6, malnourished. Therefore, the ICDS system (managed by Anganwadi workers) prioritizes malnutrition over any other area.  It has been observed that even the equally important and critical areas of Early Childhood Education (ECE) are neglected.

Also, as per ASER reports the Taluka education system indicates poor standard of school readiness amongst preschool students and poor school transition amongst primary grade students. After decades of planning, during the academic year 17-18 there has been a strong move by the Central and State Governments to put a formal policy in place for ECE similar to the RTE enactment in 2009. In terms of standardization, the draft policy which is likely to be rolled out within a year,  addresses qualification, curriculum and play routines, infrastructure design (including learning materials), assessment methods, parental engagement and the process of monitoring & reporting. Despite the benevolent intentions, there are significant crevices which need to be confronted before the rollout becomes feasible.

After identifying these gaps across the rural education setup, two non profits – Learning Space Foundation and Muktangan, initiated a pilot intervention in 2013 at Wada which started with 25 Anganwadis and 25 Zilla Parishad schools. This has now scaled to 271 Anganwadis in phase 2 spanning across 2017 and 2020. Through the systematic tracking of the effectiveness of these alternative approaches, the goal is to share the outcomes in the form of a research document as well as develop the capacities of the partnering NPOs to scale in other geographies using the knowledge developed in the pilot.

Beneficiaries and Areas of Intervention

ELDP programme directly benefits pre-school children in the age group of 3-6 years, who have enrolled in Anganwadis in the ICDS block of Wada. Along with them, Anganwadi workers and helpers (Karyakartis and Madatnis) also get the benefits of training and structured handholding by rural facilitators. Furthermore, they gain access to high-quality learning toolkits that add to the development of their teaching abilities. The ECE model aims to establish an impactful and sustainable model that can be carried forward by the trained Anganwadi staff even after the exit of capacity builders. Prior to all of this, the rural ECE facilitators are trained to deliver basic process training and implementation at the field level.


Around 271 Anganwadis, 271 Anganwadi Karyakarti (worker), 219 Anganwadi Madatnis (helper), 9 Anganwadi Mukhya Sevika (supervisor) and a total of 6643 children in the 3-6 year age bracket have been benefited by the ELDP programme.

After 5 years of intervention, the Anganwadi Karyakartis are able to install and independently implement the basic components of ECE and conduct everyday ECE activities, resulting in an improved learning experience for students. There have been special efforts made for developing trainers from the group of Anganwadi workers and supervisors. A top-quality curriculum has been developed following pilot testing. Specialized toolkits contextualized for rural ECE have been developed which can be used to replicate the success of the development model.

Throughout the process, there has been systematic documentation of pedagogy, design processes and appropriate implementation strategies. Reports, case studies and other empirical evidence that could be used as a reference have also been recorded so that they can be replicated in the development of other blocks by government and other nonprofits.

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