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May 5, 2015

Mumbai Mobile Creches' 1st Annual Puppet Week

Children working hard to make their puppets
Children working hard to make their puppets

An empty soft drink can, an old unused CD, ice cream sticks, old newspaper and some old magazines…

What does this look like to you and me? ... TRASH

What does this look like to an MMC child? … TREASURE…

USEFUL MATERIALS FOR PUPPET MAKING

MMC celebrated its 1st Puppet Week this year from the 12th to 16th January 2015. During Puppet Week, all the centres were decorated with beautiful handmade artwork, and puppet workshops and puppet shows were eagerly arranged by our children. The theme for this year’s puppet week was animals and birds. As usual, scrap materials and vibrant colours were combined by children and teachers to bring alive wonderful puppets, which adorned the centres through the week.

In the last financial year, April 2014 to March 2015 our centres catered to almost 4500 children who migrated from more than 20 different states in India. Since children at the MMC centers speak many different languages and dialects, we emphasize learning through creative and interactive methods such as music, art & craft. For years now puppetry has become a key activity at our day care centers, since making and using puppets have repeatedly proved to be one of the most effective means of communicating with children.

MMC teachers also conduct puppet making sessions and workshops for other nonprofits and educational institutions and are much-admired for their skill of using recycled materials and scrap to make attractive puppets.This Puppet Week enabled us to celebrate and recreate this wonderful art at MMC.

We have seen much enthusiasm for this initiative and look forward to Puppet Week 2015-16.

A teacher gets the children ready for the show
A teacher gets the children ready for the show
The puppet show in action!
The puppet show in action!
The hardwork of our little puppeteers
The hardwork of our little puppeteers
Feb 4, 2015

Our children went on a'jungle safari' in November!

Children getting ready for the rally
Children getting ready for the rally

This autumn, our centres were colourful, animated and full of excitement as we celebrated our fifth annual Book Week from November 17th to November 22nd 2014. Our Book Week is dedicated to make reading a pleasure, encourages our children to explore books other than school texts and kindles in our children a lifelong love of books.

The theme for this year’s Book Week was “In the World of Animals” (Praniyon Ke Sangh),so all stories and activities during the week centred on different types of animals.

Preparation and Planning

Classroom schedules and activities were planned ahead of time and our teachers underwent training workshops to ensure that Book Week went smoothly.  Books for gifting the children and new books for release were procured and distributed to the centres beforehand. At the centres, both children and teachers put up placards, posters and banners announcing the Book Week’s activities.

Opening Ceremonies

In order to set a tone of excitement for the week, children and teachers paraded around the construction sites with handmade posters, while chanting slogans and singing. This ceremonial ritual, also called the ‘Prabhat Pheri’ (a morning rally of sorts), is an important part of the schedule because it heralds the start of Book Week. This year, the rally took place on the 14th of November on the occasion of Children’s Day announcing the coming of the Book Week.  At many centres children were dressed like Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, whose birthday is also celebrated as Children’s Day.

A formal inauguration followed this parade at the centres. Special guests were invited to participate and witness the opening ceremonies.  Site supervisors, government school principals and teachers were invited.  A lamp was lit to mark the beginning of Book Week and a number of new children’s books were introduced to the community, one of which was read aloud at the ceremony. The guests went on to share their personal experiences with books, libraries and stories.

Children explored books by examining the books’ characters and vocabulary and designing new cover pages and content for the books. They came up with their own sequels of stories or imagined how the characters of two different stories would meet, coming up with a new story of their own by the end of the week.

Here are some of the activities the children enjoyed during Book Week:

Animal Charts and Maps: In this activity session, the children were asked to write down different things about the animals which were the central characters of the stories, such as their behaviour, names, physical features, etc. The children were given cutouts of the world map and asked to place the animals in the countries in which they are found. This also helped them learn about the countries around the world in an interesting manner. The teacher guided the students to identify the countries and place the animals correctly.

Bookmark Making: This was one of our children’s favourite activities. They prepared bookmarks sporting different animal faces, coloured and decorated beautifully, and displayed them at the centres. They were thrilled to take the bookmarks home to show off their hard work and creativity to their parents.

Newspaper Reading: Two newspapers, one in the national language of Hindi and the other one in a regional language, were brought in each day of Book Week. The children used the newspapers for reading and reviewing articles during class hours and later in the evening move on to play an important role within the community. In the evenings, two or three children at each centre volunteered to read the newspapers to the community.

Phirti Library(Mobile Library): During Book Week, our Phirti Library travelled directly to the homes of community members.  Two or more nominated children issued and returned books, going door to door in the community.

Mujhe Padkar Sunao(Read to Me):This programme drew a large number of participants from the community, as each child was paired with an adult.  Younger children were read a book by a community member, while older children showed off their skills by reading to the adults. At one of our centres, parents exclaimed, “Ab kitabe padna achchaa lagta hai!” (Now we started enjoying reading).

D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read): This programme, which is held every day in our Balwadi (pre-primary) classroom for 15 minutes, was a key component of Book Week. All children were given time to choose their own books and read them either quietly or aloud to each other. This encouraged children to explore their interests and gave them an opportunity to identify the kinds of books they like.

Field Trips:These outings gave children a greater exposure to the world of reading around them. MMC children visited nearby government schools and read aloud a story book. They also participated in a child-to-child activity, during which MMC children read a story for private school children and in turn private school children shared their favourite story with our children.

The last day of Book Week held a surprise for our children. Each child at the centres received a gift – a story book to take back home.They were all overjoyed to have their very own colourful books, a rare opportunity for most of them. It was the perfect ending to our wonderful Book Week,which made reading a joyful experience for our children!

Our little readers busy reading their books
Our little readers busy reading their books
Creative artists making bookmarks
Creative artists making bookmarks
Inauguration & lighting of the lamp
Inauguration & lighting of the lamp
Child to Child Programme
Child to Child Programme
Visit to a library
Visit to a library

Links:

Nov 6, 2014

An MMC teacher in the making...

The graduated batch of Bal Palikas 2014
The graduated batch of Bal Palikas 2014

This August, we were proud to see 29 women complete our year-long childcare giver training course Bal Palika. Nine of these graduates were from families who work at the construction sites. With our renewed affiliation with Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women's University (SNDT); a well recognised university in Mumbai; 15 trainees from this batch appeared for SNDT examination and secured a Diploma certificate in Nursery / Crèche Management. An exciting moment for MMC as we see them complete this one year long intensive course successfully!

Do you know the hard work that goes into becoming an MMC teacher?

... We’re happy to share our secret!

The MMC training programme, or the Balpalika programme, started in 1982, is an intensive year long course that prepares women to work in early childcare and education. These women are paid a stipend during the duration of the training; they spend four days a week in a practical internship at an MMC day care centre, and two days a week in lectures at training centres. This helps to provide them theoretical as well as hands-on training regarding early childhood care. Veteran trainers employ a comprehensive curriculum to teach women about cognitive and social development in children, child nutrition and first aid skills, and milestones in development among children of different ages. They then build upon this foundational knowledge with sessions focused on creating a stimulating and appropriate learning environment for children, practical teaching tools, managing a day care centre, and how to assess and evaluate children’s progress. After going through such rigorous training the teachers are all set to display their talents and learning in two exciting opportunities that await them in their final leg of this wonderful journey!

1. Teaching Aids Exhibition

After eight months of hard work and training, the trainees share their learnings and display their success in an interesting exhibition of teaching aids. The MMC philosophy is “Learning through Play” and the trainees make use of local recycled materials to make unique teaching aids for joyful learning. Each year a different theme is chosen and the teachers prepare innovative teaching aids for the exhibition based on the theme. We await to see these wonderful pieces of creativity every year!

2. Graduation Ceremony: The finale 

Upon completing the course, they receive a certificate of graduation, at which point they are fully qualified to work as early childhood caregivers at MMC’s day care centres or with other NGOs. The training not only provides community women with valuable skills and professional knowledge that will allow them to work as child care workers but also encourages community investment in childcare and education programmes. Becoming certified childcare workers provides these women with the opportunity to become financially independent and develop a sense of identity! 

The Bal Palika Programme is one such step towards our mission to reach all children and for all children to enjoy a safe, happy and healthy childhood. 

Exhibition 2013; Theme: Road and Surface Transport
Exhibition 2013; Theme: Road and Surface Transport
The trainees display their work at the exhibition
The trainees display their work at the exhibition
Learning to make low cost puppets
Learning to make low cost puppets
Trainees in action at a music workshop session
Trainees in action at a music workshop session
A session on Picture talk by our trainer
A session on Picture talk by our trainer

Links:

 
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