We started our journey with an inclusive kindergarten in Kashele village, on 3rd December 2018 (World Disability Day). At present, we have 15 students aged 4-6 years, most of them from tribal backgrounds, including 6 children with disabilities, who study together in the same classroom using multi-sensory learning approach. We follow an ‘inclusive curriculum’ that adopts activity-based learning, e-learning apps, IEP (individualized educational plan) to address specific learning needs of all children.
Our aim is to become a model inclusive school where children with and without disabilities study together in the same classroom.
On 3rd June 2019, we launched ‘Samaaveshi Library’ – an inclusive, community library within our school premises, with an aim to improve literacy and STEM skills among primary level children with and without disabilities residing in Kashele and nearby tribal villages of Karjat block. The library is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. As community intervention, we conduct ‘Weekend Library Workshops’ on reading, storytelling, creative arts and life skills, for primary children.
In the long run, we want the library to transform into a ‘inclusive, community resource centre’ with a robust collection of print, digital and assistive learning resources for primary children.
'INCLUSIVE' DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAMME
We launched ‘Inclusive Digital Literacy Programme’ on 3rd July 2019, to provide inclusive skill development opportunities to tribal women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Karjat block. The month-long programme covers basic concepts in computer application and digital literacy skills. Our first batch comprised of eight young adults including two persons with disabilities, from diverse social and educational backgrounds.
Gradually, we plan to roll out customized digital literacy courses to build capacity of local groups such as Anganwadi and school teachers, PHC and ASHA workers, and so on.
INCLUSIVE 'ANGANWADI' TRANSFORMATION
In August 2019, we launched ‘Inclusive Anganwadi Programme’, a pilot aimed at transforming a cluster of 10 Anganwadis into ‘inclusive’ early education centres, in technical collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. Our plan is to conduct a series of workshops on inclusive education and digital learning, and set-up ‘mini-libraries’ – to impact early education of over 500 rural children with and without disabilities in Karjat block.
So far, we have conducted a total of eight workshops with the 10 Anganwadi teachers on a range of topics related to disability, inclusive education, foundational learning and digital learning.
INCLUSIVE SCHOOL IN-A-BOX
As our venture gears up to complete a year, 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, 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 idea 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.