We started our journey with an inclusive school in Kashele village, on 3rd December 2018 (World Disability Day). At present, we’ve 30 students (15 each in Kindergarten and Grade 1), majority from tribal backgrounds, including 10 children with disabilities, who study together using multi-sensory learning approach. We follow an ‘inclusive curriculum’ that integrates constructivism, social-emotional learning (SEL), individualized educational plan (IEP), to address specific learning needs of all children.
Our aim is to increase one grade every year, and gradually become a model inclusive school where children with and without disabilities study together in the same classroom.
On 3rd June 2019, we set-up ‘Samaaveshi Library’ – an inclusive, community library within our school premises in Kashele village, with an aim to improve literacy, life and STEM skills among primary-level children with and without disabilities residing in Kashele and neighbouring tribal hamlets. The library is open 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Saturday. Besides, we conduct regular ‘Weekend Library Workshops’ on literacy, storytelling, creative arts and life skills, which is attended by 30-40 children.
By 2025, we plan to set-up five new community libraries in Karjat block with a robust collection of print, digital and assistive learning resources, to expand the ecosystem of inclusive education.
'INCLUSIVE' DIGITAL LITERACY / SKILLING
We launched ‘Inclusive Digital Literacy Programme’ on 3rd July 2019, to provide inclusive skill development opportunities to local tribal youth and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Karjat block. The month-long programme covers basic concepts in computer application and digital literacy to empower local youth with essential digital skills. So far, a total of 16 youth including four PWDs have completed the programme.
In 2020, we plan to roll out customized digital skilling courses to build capacity of local community workers such as Anganwadi teachers, PHC and ASHA workers, and so on.
SAMAAVESHI 'ANGANWADI' TRANSFORMATION
In August 2019, we launched ‘Samaaveshi Anganwadi Programme’, aimed at transforming rural Anganwadis into ‘inclusive’ early education centres, in technical collaboration with TISS, Mumbai and ICDS Karjat. Through a twin-track approach: a) a series of workshops for Anganwadi teachers on disability, inclusive education, foundational learning and digital literacy, and b) setting-up a ‘mini-library’ of multi-sensory play and learning materials (resource centre) at each Anganwadi – we’re striving to build an ecosystem of ‘inclusive education’ in Karjat.
We’re now working with a total of 40 Anganwadis, and gradually plan to cover all 300 Anganwadis in Karjat by 2025.
INCLUSIVE SCHOOL IN-A-BOX
As our venture completes two years, we’re happy to announce the launch of a new programme that we believe will put us on track to build inclusive classrooms across India. Beginning November 2019, we are working on developing a ‘box’ that will comprise of ‘grade-specific’ multi-sensory learning materials for both children with and without disabilities.
The plan is to come up with our first edition called ‘Inclusive Kindergarten in-a-Box’ and test the product with a cluster of Anganwadis and pre-schools in Karjat block, before launching it for public in December 2020.