Pre School Education Project
The ‘Pre School Education’ Project addresses the Educational as well as Health & Nutritional needs of slum children between 1 to 6 years of age. The project is run through 25 Pre School Education centres, locally known as Balwadis, spread across five different slum areas of Mumbai which have an approximate population of close to half a million. Due to problems of low income and unemployment, the parents are unable to provide pre-school education and proper nutrition to their children. The project helps address these needs along with preventing school drop outs in the future.
This project was started with the objective to facilitate immunization of the Balwadi children and to reduce the malnutrition level among them, thereby improving nutrition as well as attendance in schools. In all, 2730 children are enrolled in the Balwadi since 2010.
There are several activities that are organized regularly at the Balwadis aiming at a holistic development of the children. Academic progress is ensured through activities like monthly and annual evaluation of the children and regular parent-teacher meetings. Health and developmental aspects are taken care of through the daily nutrition meals provided to the children which includes different items like Poha, Rajgira Ladu, masala bhat, lapshi and fruits. Balwadi children’s personality development is ensured through several extra-curricular activities like Celebration of National festivals, Sports day and drawing competition. The project, at a broader level also aims at integrating with the community by giving opportunity to the community members to involve as teachers or assistants at Mumbai Smiles. Mumbai Smiles trains them regularly on various teaching methodologies to ensure quality education being imparted to the children.
In the academic year 2013-2014, these 25 Balwadis, catered to 716 children with 52% boys and 48% girls. Of these, 73% of the children are in the age group of 1-3 years while the rest are in the range of 4-6 years.