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Ministry of Women and Child Development to Introduce National Early Childhood Education Programs

New Delhi: India’s National Education Policy 2020 signaled a significant shift towards securing a prosperous future for all children. Acknowledging that 85% of brain development occurs before the age of six, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is taking steps to fortify the nation’s Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) landscape. In a bid to enhance early years’ development, the Ministry is set to launch two crucial initiatives: the National Curriculum for Early Childhood Care and Education for children aged three to six, and the National Framework for Early Childhood Stimulation for those from birth to three years.

With programs like Mission Saksham Anganwadi, Poshan 2.0, and others under Mission Shakti, the Ministry aims to empower mothers and their children under six. These initiatives offer comprehensive childcare support, including nutritional aid, educational resources, and activities for holistic development. Currently, the Ministry oversees 13.9 lakh Anganwadi Centres nationwide, serving over 8 crore children under six years old.

The National Curriculum for ECCE 2024, catering to children aged three to six, aligns with the National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage 2022. It emphasizes competency-based lesson plans and joyful, play-based learning to prepare children for primary school. The curriculum is structured for 36 weeks of active learning, supplemented by reinforcement and initiation periods, fostering a combination of indoor and outdoor, child-led, and educator-led activities. Additionally, it prioritizes screening, inclusion, and referrals for children with disabilities.

For infants and toddlers up to three years old, the National Framework for Early Childhood Stimulation 2024 focuses on empowering caregivers and Anganwadi Workers. It emphasizes responsive caregiving and early learning opportunities based on the Nurturing Care Framework. The framework provides age-appropriate activities, promoting serve-and-return interactions, caregiver engagement, and positive guidance.

Both documents were developed by the National Institute for Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD), incorporating feedback from Anganwadi Workers. NIPCCD will conduct training sessions for Anganwadi functionaries to implement the new programs effectively. Additionally, provisions from the curriculum and framework will be integrated into the Poshan Tracker platform, aiming to transform every Anganwadi Centre into a dynamic learning hub in the community.

Tags: Education