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Centre releases curriculum for early childhood education

April 23, 2024

The Union Ministry for Women and Child Development, on April 19, released a curriculum for early childhood education — ‘Aadharshila’ & ‘Navchetana’. These curriculum documents for children aged three-six years are based on the recommendations of the National Curriculum Framework for the Foundational Stage 2022 and National Education Policy 2020. India hosts 1.4 million government anganwadis with an enrolment of 80 million children.

Aadharshila (translated as foundation stone) is a detailed 48-week curriculum balancing rest, meals, and various play types for stimulation and learning reinforcement. The daily four-hour plan for children comprises interactive hands-on learning activities that strengthen language skills, foster creativity through arts, and outdoor play.

Navchetana advocates a caregiving approach that involves caregivers promptly responding to a child’s signals, benefiting their socio-emotional, language, cognitive, and motor skills.  Anganwadi workers are advised to use play materials varying from store-bought toys to DIY items using household or natural materials, promoting sustainability and cultural awareness. Moreover, stimulation activities are outlined in a monthly calendar.

The framework document has been finalised by an internal committee comprising representatives from the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Department of School Education and Literacy, the Ministry of Education, the National Council of Educational Research & Training, the Institute of Home Economics, Delhi University and civil society organisations.

“The Government of India has released India’s first modern Early Childhood Care & Education curricula for birth to 6-year-olds: ‘Aadharshila’ & ‘Navchetana.’ This moment will be remembered as a pivotal step for the Early Childhood Development ecosystem to strength brains and IQs of our most underserved children. At Rocket Learning, we were honored to help draft these critical documents, as members of the Ministry of Women and Child Development’s Curriculum Committee (Namya) and as formal partners of the Ministry’s nodal body, NIPCCD. These groundbreaking frameworks, emphasize play-based learning, socio-emotional skills, and cutting-edge research on brain development. With a focus on inclusivity and 21st-century skills, these play-based easy to use activity calendars will empower 80 million children across 1.4 million Anganwadi centers,” says Azeez Guta, co-founder, Rocket Learning (a Bengaluru-based ed tech nonprofit dedicated to supporting a free early childhood development system in India).

Aadharshila: 4-hour plan for children

Welcome & Free Play (55 mins – setting tone for the day, hygiene check, weather etc)

Learning & Play (125 mins – Five play-based activities targeting diverse learning domains)

Reflect & Wrap (30 mins – free outdoor play, reflecting on activities and learnings, cleaning up, etc.)

Also read: Critical importance of early childhood education

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