We started our journey with an inclusive school in Kashele village, on 3rd December 2018 (World Disability Day). At present, we have two levels of kindergarten (LKG and UKG) with total 30 students aged 4-6 years, most of them from tribal backgrounds, including 10 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, individualized educational plans (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 and STEM skills among primary level children with and without disabilities residing in tribal villages nearby. The library is open 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Saturday. As community intervention, we conduct ‘Weekend Library Workshops’ on reading, storytelling, creative arts and life skills, which is attended by 40-50 children.
In 2020, we plan to set-up five new community libraries in Karjat block with a robust collection of print, digital and assistive learning resources for all primary children.
'INCLUSIVE' DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAMME
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 literacy skills. So far, a total of 16 youth including four PWDs have completed the programme.
In 2020, we plan to roll out customized digital literacy courses to build capacity of local community workers 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. Through twin-track approach: i) a series of workshops for Anganwadi teachers on disability, inclusive education, foundational learning and digital literacy, and ii) setting-up ‘mini-libraries’ at each Anganwadi, we hope to improve early education of rural children with and without disabilities in Karjat tribal block.
After successful completion of pilot in 2019, we’re now expanding the programme to cover 50 NEW Anganwadi centres in 2020.
INCLUSIVE SCHOOL IN-A-BOX
As our venture completes 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 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.