Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children

by The Opentree Foundation
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Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Mental Well-being through play for 56,000 children
Learning shapes and colors with board games
Learning shapes and colors with board games

Children’s spirits are set free in play spaces and imaginations come alive through Play. However, inequities limit these for at-risk children along with access to quality play experiences, and thus mental and emotional well-being. 

To address that, we need to act now, act big and resolutely, as four-time award-winning project Toybank—Development through Play has been since its inception in 2004. So, when Bhausaheb Wavikar, Secretary of SAPREM’s Bring A Smile MR School for children with intellectual disabilities shares after our games distribution, “Our children with special needs found online learning uninspiring and boring but are now playing without stress,”. Not only were they relieved of their worries but we took another step in providing access to quality Play even for children with different abilities. As Wavikar added, “Our children are so happy to get the games and toys. The joy on their faces is beyond words.”

Though our greatest reward is impacting 57,925 children across 7 states and 1 Union Territoryin India every day during COVID-19 (as of 31st August 2021), we are honored and inspired to be one of the finalists of one of the prestigious global forums 2021 Global Good Awards—COVID Crisis Champions. We are ever grateful for the solid support of Toybankers like you who support us in building a better, stronger and kinder generation.

 

Starting at the bottom, we’re now playing digital

‘Interrupted learning’ is among the top adversities of COVID-19 on children (UNESCO). Educationists and experts urged to resend children to physical classrooms in December 2020, barely six months into the lockdown. But now, more than 300 million students in India have been learning virtually for more than a year-and-a-half—the seventh-longest school closure in the world. It has rightly been said that if children do not go back to school soon, we will have a lost generation of kids. 

Toybank has continually recognized these losses even before the outbreak of the pandemic. From providing games to a couple of thousands of street kids to setting up Play2Learn Centers impacting 57K+ kids, we have consistently responded to our children’s evolving needs, even during COVID-19 as our program went digital. 

A Harvard report, ‘Persevering through the Pandemic,’ states that 58 percent of parents have witnessed COVID-19 harm their children’s academic development. Just over half of the parents saw a negative impact on their child’s social-emotional development, which can affect the ability to learn, build relationships and manage emotions. It is, therefore, crucial for children to be connected to their learning during the pandemic.

 

Being mindful of the digital fatigue, too

Throughout the pandemic, we have stayed connected with our partners, teachers, children and their parents through telephonic surveys, virtual focus group discussions, and whenever restrictions were lifted we had in-person meetings with block officers, headmasters and principals to ensure Play is part of their back-to-school plans. We are continually tracking the problems children are facing—school dropout, child labor, social distress due to the virus, digital fatigue, learning loss, etc—and curate every batch of our Play2Learn Kit to address these and bridge gaps. 

To further balance the digital fatigue, we had a blend of various play activities, sessions and offline activities such as:

  • Around 150 Physical Play2Learn Sessions in areas with minimal to zero COVID cases
  • Distribution of 1,492 games and toys to approx. 800 children in remote areas of Mulshi and Matheran villages in Maharashtra, where the tribal kids have no access to learning materials or schools.
  • Replenishing over 3000 games at our Play2Learn Centers in Ahmednagar, Beed, Latur & Mumbai districts of Maharashtra
  • 43 Virtual Play2Learn Sessions conducted by Program Officers and 58 Virtual Play2Learn Sessions conducted by corporate volunteers
  • 70 Buddy sessions as part of the Buddy Program focused on reducing feelings of isolation, building self-confidence, team work, building healthy routines and habits, and avenues for fun and recreation through ice-breakers, action songs and arts and crafts activities.

“The Toybank Play2Learn Kit provides quality activities that meet various learning levels of children and skills that will make them resilient to get ahead in life,” said Miss Anju, Teacher, partner-school Rani Sati English School, Mumbai.

“Alphabet Jumping supported children’s learning of the alphabet in an engaging and entertaining way. They got to move, hop and read out aloud one letter after another, thus increasing their learning retention. At the end of the hopping, they reached their favorite belonging as a reward. Caregivers also learned how to encourage their children and make their learning journey fun”, shares Toybank Program Officer, Rashmin Shaikh.

 

Story of Resilience:

Our partner Prerana (an anti-human trafficking nonprofit) shares an inspiring Story Of Resilience on how Toybank’s Play2Learn activities are supporting their children during the pandemic.To read it click here.                             

 

Benefits of Toybank Play2Learn Program

  • Meaningful engagement at home
  • Accessible and self-directed learning
  • Safe spaces at home
  • Stimulating learning environment
  • Opportunity for normal development, building autonomy and exploration
  • Reducing the severity of potential trauma caused by fear and uncertainty
  • Enabling caregivers to focus on their responsibilities
  • Promoting opportunities for early learning and responsive caregiving

 

Our work across India

The digital and translations feature of Toybank Play2Learn Kit has made it adaptable in different rural and urban communities of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Ladakh and Madhya Pradesh. We have and continue to ensure that language is the last barrier preventing children from playing.

We have witnessed the power of play adopted within different contexts and backgrounds and our activities include resources that are easily obtainable locally. For instance, Little Vikas, from the tribal region of Madhya Pradesh, made a Pinwheel from leaves and Santosh from rural Maharashtra completed the Manmade Flower game by including natural and man-made things from his surroundings, including soil and trees. We supported our partner facilitators, teachers and caregivers to fit the Play2Learn sheets into their local lexicon.

 

Supporting Toybank in making quality play more accessible

As we continue to work on-ground, we look forward to Right To Play becoming an undeniable reality soon. Now, with 17 years of on-ground experience, hundreds of impact stories, a big Toybank family of supporters, teachers, government officials, volunteers and children look forward to more avenues that will give children their right—to happy and healthy childhoods through Play.

Thank you and Happy Toybanking!

Outreach as of 31st August 2021
Outreach as of 31st August 2021
Volunteers guide children to express emotions
Volunteers guide children to express emotions
Virtual Play2Learn Sessions conducted by Toybank
Virtual Play2Learn Sessions conducted by Toybank
Tribal children access quality games to play with
Tribal children access quality games to play with
Teachers teach alphabets through new board games
Teachers teach alphabets through new board games
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Learning the food chain through crossword puzzles
Learning the food chain through crossword puzzles

Renowned ECE consultant, Rae Pica, highlights the need for play, “I shouldn’t have to defend play for children anymore than I should have to defend eating, sleeping, and breathing.” COVID or no COVID, Toybank’s digital Play2Learn Program continues to defend, encourage play and impact at-risk children.

Even though safe play spaces are every child’s right and necessity, at-risk Indian children are devoid of these as the pandemic and lockdown prolong. Thus, it’s crucial that we enrich their current learning environments—homes and immediate surroundings. Toybank’s Play2Learn Program has kept 51,885 children learning in safe spaces on a daily basis. We guide and support 2,150 teachers and 7,523 parents through 431 support groups. (As of 31st May 2021)


Here’s all that we did as part of the program in the past three months.

Strengthening foundational learning


With virtual learning in its second year, children struggle to brush up on their basics as they did in traditional classrooms. As the curriculum has reduced, students are practically learning on their own with inadequate support from teachers. Thus, Toybank’s Play2Learn Sheets are curated to promote foundational learning, support caregivers to strengthen children's basics in complex subjects, and mitigate learning gaps. For instance, interactive games such as Spelling Jigsaw, Rhyming Hunt, and Homophones built kids’ vocabulary and pronunciation.

Socio-emotional development and habit building


Our partner teacher Ms. Hemali says, “Playsheets not only help students with their academics but also build life skills like patience and self-awareness about how their words and actions can impact people around them.”

Children mapped their daily routines through the play activities like ‘What I do Before and After’ so that they could identify and inculcate healthy habits like brushing their teeth twice a day and helping caregivers in household chores. ‘Coloring Habits’ helped children unlearn bad routines that being cooped up at home caused.

While with activity Feathers of Gratitude, children expressed their gratitude for frontline workers—medical professionals, government officials, police officers, and so on; they learned ways to deal with difficult situations with 'Think Before You Speak'.

Story of Resilience: Finding faith in learning once again

“Farman excelled in the physical classroom, but the lockdown disrupted his routine and he struggled to keep up with the overwhelming virtual classes. Yet, the Grade 3 student’s parents expected him to be the first to answer questions, and complete all his homework.

As Farman missed playing and interacting with his friends, he found joy in learning again and happily engaged with Toybank Play2Learn Sheets. New play activities and encouragement from his teachers enable him to learn, strengthen his foundation in subjects he lagged in, and play independently.”

—Mr. Sanket, Teacher, Toybank Play2Learn Center, Rani Sati English Medium School, Mumbai, India

Benefits of Toybank Play2Learn Program

  • Meaningful engagement at home
  • Accessible and self-directed learning
  • Safe spaces at home
  • Stimulating learning environment
  • Opportunity for normal development, building autonomy and exploration
  • Reducing the severity of potential trauma caused by fear and uncertainty
  • Enabling caregivers to focus on their responsibilities
  • Promoting opportunities for early learning and responsive caregiving

Toybank’s Play2Smile Program

When children play, they smile even in difficult situations such as undergoing a medical treatment or accompanying someone to the hospital—especially during tough COVID times. Engaging in Play also enhances kids' bond with their caregivers and the hospital staff. As a part of our Play2Smile Program, in March and April 2021, before lockdown 2021, our team distributed  1,095 games to 6 hospitals in Mumbai and Pune. Apart from expressing themselves, kids stayed engaged independently and felt secure. They also derived joy from the pop of colorful games and toys. “It brings their imagination alive. Being stuck to the bed or inside the ward causes boredom, irritability and restlessness, which can be detrimental to their mental well-being,” Toybank Program Officer (PO) Neha states.

Virtual volunteering during Covid-19

Close to 500 volunteers (corporate employees, students and individuals) continue to support us in virtual Play2Learn Sessions, Buddy Program sessions, video editing, research work, Play2Learn activity designing, and translations on a weekly basis. 

Parents of our children share with us how Toybank's Buddy sessions and the playsheets have been a boon for them during the lockdown. Various interesting activities keep the children self-motivated. Being meaningfully engaged reduces restlessness in children and anxiety in their caregivers.

Distributing games before the second COVID wave 

Right before the second lockdown in Mumbai, we also distributed 1,160 creative games at 9 partner-schools in the Malwani slums of Mumbai to provide our kids access to Quality play materials. The inventory team meticulously sanitized and packed games and distributed them while maintaining social distancing.

Teacher Ms Poonam from Rani Sati Urdu Municipal School shares, “For an entire year, we couldn't meet our children but through this distribution, we were so excited to see some of them enjoy the games. We thank Toybank for this gesture during these hard times.”

Our work across India

Toybank’s partners are the backbone who take Play to some of the remotest pockets of the country—especially during the pandemic. With their support, we disseminated our Play2Learn activities to 5 other states beyond our base Maharashtra, namely—Manipur, Union Territory Ladakh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

“In the past few months, Shabdha (name changed) has enjoyed the Play2Learn activities. She gathered a group of friends who do not have access to phones and requested our staff to arrange a space for them to play together. For these children, Toybank’s activities have been something to look forward to every week.”  —Testimonial by Oasis India, Bangalore, Karnataka

Supporting Toybank for enriched learning and equitable childhoods

As we have seen through the two waves of COVID-19, the need for resilience, mental well-being and quality learning during early years of childhood is crucial for children to resolutely face inequalities and crises. 

We are paving the way for at-risk children to negotiate their way around learning losses, digital divide and gaps in social-emotional development. As Toybank bolsters its efforts to rebuild childhoods with equity, your support will go a long way in backing us up.

Thank you and Happy Toybanking!

 

 

Toybank's Outreach as of 31st May 2021
Toybank's Outreach as of 31st May 2021
Teacher guides children about wet and dry waste
Teacher guides children about wet and dry waste
Making play accessible before the second lockdown
Making play accessible before the second lockdown
Children practice word making with Scrabble
Children practice word making with Scrabble
Play reaching remotest parts of India
Play reaching remotest parts of India
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Kids explore a puzzle when the Play Center opened
Kids explore a puzzle when the Play Center opened

UNICEF report states that one in every four mothers is apprehensive of their child’s return to school after the pandemic. In developing countries like India, UNICEF projects an increase of 15% in child poverty and an additional 10 million child marriages by 2030. One of the critical setbacks is complete school closure in India and the lack of stable internet access to support online education.

Even after a year, at-risk children continue to grapple with learning losses and gaps in socio-emotional needs as schools remain shut. While social distancing hasn’t been easy on them, our team has supported their evolving needs. In April 2020, we modified our Play2Learn Program to provide our children with mental relief as they navigate an uncertain and unstable world that the pandemic had created for them. 

Ensuring Access to Quality Play at home or in school 

With some semblance of normalcy setting in with virtual learning and Toybank’s digital Play2Learn Kit, our children continue to have access to quality playtime and education. Many children are also receiving support through our Buddy Program. We also restocked new games and art materials at the Play2Smile Centers at our partner hospitals.

When children return to school, they ought to be anxious about the pandemic’s new rules and responsibilities. “The playsheets will ensure that children don’t face boredom, anxiety or distraction,” says Bhosle Ma’am from our rural Play2Learn Center.

India’s National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 encourages a play-based curriculum, and the Indian Financial Budget 2021-22 highlights the importance of toys and games as an expression of entertainment and learning. Hence, our teachers and partners look forward to using the Play2Learn Program to enable a play-based learning pedagogy at all learning levels. Teachers from Play2Learn Centers have shown keen interest in incorporating the Toybank Play2Learn Program within their curriculum as it has benefited children during the most challenging educational crises.

Teacher Workshops—Keeping the doors of learning open

Our Play2Learn Program digs deeper into the learning system by aiding our partner facilitators (teachers & caregivers) in understanding the value of play-based learning. It encourages a conscious effort to understand children’s developmental needs so that the facilitators can integrate play methods in the curriculum to address them. These were actively promoted and conducted through teacher training workshops virtually.

These 1.5-hour-long workshops support teachers in aligning play with their academic curriculum and actualizing NEP 2020’s vision—pedagogy must make education more experiential, holistic, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible, and enjoyable. Teachers were briefed practically on how to incorporate play-based learning with the support of the Play2Learn Kit. “The workshop was beneficial and insightful, and we look forward to including the Play2Learn Kit into our time-tables or lesson plans when our schools reopen,” said Bhagwan Girgaonkar, Toybank Play2Learn Center coordinator. We’ve conducted a total of 12 workshops with 461 teachers across our Play2Learn Centers.

 

Story of Resilience: 

Stress of relocating and learning losses mitigated through Play for Yasha

With the financial repercussions of COVID, living in Malwani wasn’t an option for Yasha’s parents. The 7th grader’s family was forced to migrate to their native place. For months, Yasha and her two younger brothers had no online education access as her smartphone broke. The stress of moving to a new home, the ongoing pandemic and the loss of her school routine triggered learning regression in the child. 

A few months later, worried about the long gap in their children’s education, Yasha’s parents managed to repair the smartphone, along with arranging for notebooks and pens. Even though she struggled initially, Yasha soon began logging in for classes and asking her doubts. Toybank’s Program Officer (PO), however, noted that she wouldn’t solve Play2Learn Sheets. The PO asked her if she’d like to try some of the activities and curated many playsheets that Yasha happily engaged with. Recently, on a call with the PO, Yasha said, “I did not need a lot of mobile data and even though alone, I improved in my favourite subject—English.”

 

—Story shared by Teacher Mr Mahendra Vishwkarma from our Play2Learn Center in Malwani slums, Mumbai, India

 

Benefits of Toybank Play2Learn Program

  • Meaningful engagement at home during the lockdown
  • Accessible and self-directed learning
  • Safe spaces at home
  • Stimulating learning environment
  • Opportunity for normal development, building autonomy and exploration
  • Reducing the severity of potential trauma caused by fear and uncertainty
  • Enabling caregivers to focus on their responsibilities
  • Promoting opportunities for early learning and responsive caregiving

Outreach from December 2020 to February 2021 

Toybank Play2Learn Kit has ensured that daily, 51,657 children have continued to learn through play. It has guided and supported 2,150 teachers and 7,523 parents through 431 support groups. Toybank has also built new collaborations with organizations across 6 States and 1 Union territory in the country.

 

Toybank Buddy Program 

As the pandemic has stolen children’s precious time and memories with their school friends, Toybank’s Buddy Program provides them with the opportunity to build friendships based on mutual trust and learning. Our Big Buddies encourage our little ones to pursue a healthy lifestyle—from wearing masks, eating their pulses and green vegetables to teaching them indoor exercises. They’re always ready to lend a listening ear and provide a safe space for children to talk about their feelings or things that pique their curiousity. 

 

IPA Special Awards

Toybank was recognized among 23 global organizations by the International Play Association (IPA) for upholding the Right to Play and for demonstrating how we have respected, protected and promoted play during COVID-19. On February 24th, Toybank also presented its Play2Learn Program at the IPA Special Awards Webinar series on the theme of Empowering Play in the Digital Age alongside organizations from Indonesia, Portugal and the UK.

 

Bring happy childhoods to children through access to Quality Play

“When we make Play the foundation of learning, we teach the whole child.” 

We are determined to preserve and protect children’s Right to Play. While engaging in play enables children to build resilience, crucial life skills and develop holistically, it’s also the time they experience the most profound happiness and discover themselves. Playing is serious business for children, and we all can be a part of building a playful world filled with happy and stronger children with access to quality play. 

 

Thank you, and Happy Toybanking!

 

Play2Learn Kit outreach December '20-February '21
Play2Learn Kit outreach December '20-February '21
Yasha matches monuments with their cities
Yasha matches monuments with their cities
Children play Word Search before class begins
Children play Word Search before class begins
A child plays Jenga at Play2Smile partner hospital
A child plays Jenga at Play2Smile partner hospital
Teachers engaged at our virtual workshop
Teachers engaged at our virtual workshop
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Children revise and recall parts of various plants
Children revise and recall parts of various plants

With 2020 wrapped up, our human spirit is reflecting upon a year that one would rather forget. So that we learn from it and use the experience to make us stronger. We also reflected about how our children held through all that they lost out on and how their caregivers, our team and our dear supporters stepped up to back them

According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2020, 60% children now have access to smartphones. 1 in 10 households have bought a smartphone. However, access to a smartphone doesn’t ensure quality learning and the digital divide further widens the learning gap, especially for at-risk children. The report also highlights inadequate learning materials out of which most are textbooks and the rest dependent on smartphones and  internet connectivity.WhatsApp has been a far more popular and accessible medium for transferring learning materials and, therefore, Toybank disseminates its Play2Learn Kit through this medium. Caregivers from across the country, whether teachers struggling with the digital medium or parents who aren’t equipped financially or inadequately educated to support their children's learning needs, have found our kit beneficial.

Aligning our Play2Learn Kit with the national curriculum

With schools being shut for over 9 months since March 2020, our children’s play and learning opportunities have been hampered. While there is better news for high school children with schools reopening in some states of India, the younger children—preschool through primary grades—are still unable to access quality learning as they should in their formative years. To bridge these gaps, our Play2Learn Kit is aligned to academic topics in the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) curriculum and Diksha App. The kit is made for various age groups and learning levels ensuring that all children learn.

Making up for the online learning divide, our activities equip our children with a variety of skills and topics including science experiments, numerical and linguistic skills, geography, history, environmental studies, self-awareness and healthy habits. This alignment supports tutors as they do not have to uproot their lesson plans, but employ the kit as an aid. Children are able to independently learn even after the online class ends. Integrating play into learning has boosted their engagement and students who erstwhile struggled to grasp concepts online are more proactive.

Story of Resilience

How Divya overcame her fear of learning loss  

As Miss Sunanda from our government school partner rightly says, “Play is a medium that can help students learn unknowingly.” This couldn’t be truer in Divya’s case. The 13-year-old was a dedicated student who submitted her school assignments on time and proactively asked her teacher what to study each day. But as school remained shut, she feared about not being able to catch up with the syllabus at the same pace as her peers. Toybank’s Program Officers (PO) encouraged her to remain positive and motivated her to complete her homework as well as playsheets.  

Divya’s fears subsided once she engaged with our activities that fed her inquiring attitude to learn. She even tries to add little design elements to them before submission. One such activity, Types of Farming Word Search, enabled her to discover the different types of farming. On her next visit to her family’s or neighboring farms, she was able to identify the various types and their purposes.

Benefits of our Play2Learn Kits

  • Accessible and self-directed learning
  • Safe spaces at home
  • Staying active during the lockdown
  • Stimulating learning environment
  • Outlet for normal development, autonomy-building and exploration
  • Reduce the severity of potential trauma caused by fear and uncertainty
  • Promote opportunities for early learning and responsive caregiving

Outreach in September, October and November 2020

We have ensured that on a daily basis, 50,982 children in 6 states and 1 Union Territory of India have continued to learn through play with our Play2Learn Kit. We have guided and supported 2,133 teachers and 7,385 parents through 423 support groups, as of 30 November, 2020. 

Being a buddy in need

While children are losing out on social interactions during the pandemic, Toybank’s Buddy Program is providing them a circle of friendship, learning and growth to help them deal with isolation, confusion and everyday hardships. The program involves our volunteers playing the Big Buddy and conducting online Play2Learn Sessions, sharing, expressing, indulging in hobbies together. The sessions are all about the synergy between our children and volunteers and building resilience through new skills and positive experiences.

Bridging the gap with conversations

Every revolution begins with words. For play to get the importance it deserves and to bring a paradigm shift in people’s mindset where play is integrated into society at the subconscious level, we have started Toybank Bridge Series Webinars. We had our children and student volunteers share their experiences during the pandemic and their expectations from the future in our debut webinar Gen T: The Generation that Thrives—In Conversation with the Children of the Future. The second webinar Reimagining Child-friendly Spaces—In Conversation with Ratan Batliboi and Arzan Khambatta discussed why children need to be included in decisions while building child-friendly cities.

Play and learning as one

‘Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.’

We firmly believe in the all-pervading nature of Play. While it teaches important 21st-century life skills to children, it also enhances their academic learning. As we prioritize education, play must not and cannot be deprioritized. Each one of us, including you, are key to promoting play, reimagining learning and making happier childhoods and stronger children!

With the New Year here, we hope to see a renewed attitude towards play. And we also wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and playful 2021!

Thank you and Happy Toybanking!

Children identify and sort word tenses in 3 bowls
Children identify and sort word tenses in 3 bowls
Outreach from September to November 2020
Outreach from September to November 2020
Learning a healthy routine one loop at a time
Learning a healthy routine one loop at a time
Divya facing her challenges through Word Search!
Divya facing her challenges through Word Search!
Building basic skills of numbers and colors
Building basic skills of numbers and colors

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Colorful and interactive math learning
Colorful and interactive math learning

Bhakti (name changed) avoided studying English and struggled with linguistic skills-based activities. For her, and millions of students from marginalized communities, a sudden shift from traditional classrooms to online schooling due to the pandemic has caused a weaning interest in studies and difficulty in grasping concepts. That apart, only 24% of households own smartphones, and a meager 11.5% have access to a computer and the internet, further widening the learning gaps. As an OECD report points out, low schooling quality before COVID-19 meant students learned inadequately and a disrupted academic year with prolonged remote learning are exacerbating this learning crisis.

Our partner teacher Harshal Phule (Latur district, Maharashtra), states, “The new and unfamiliar method of online learning has caused a lag in studies for our children. Internet disconnection has massively set back their progress as they end up missing an entire online class during power cuts which they can’t access again”.


Building resilience through PlayAtHome kits


Our Toybank PlayAtHome Kit has ensured that children can learn at any hour of the day and revisit it as many times as needed. Our team sends playsheets twice a day through the week. From mental relief and engagement, our PlayAtHome Kit now also focuses on bridging learning gaps. The downloadable and self-directed playsheets take excessive internet dependence out of the equation and allow children to learn in a more practical and independent way.

We also witnessed our children solve problems creatively when resources to do the activities weren’t available. Kids who didn’t have crayons at home, made color out of plant juices. The playkit encourages children to take initiative, overcome obstacles that impede their development and face challenges that will help them build resilience in the long run. Like Harshal Phule noted, “Giving the children control of their learning makes it more exciting for them. The activities on shape recognition, for example, encouraged children to practically draw, cut the shapes, and color by themselves.”


Benefits of our PlayAtHome initiative include:

  • Accessible and self-directed learning
  • Safe spaces at home
  • Staying active during the lockdown
  • Stimulating learning environment
  • Providing outlet for normal development, autonomy-building and exploration
  • Reduce the severity of potential trauma caused by fear and uncertainty
  • Supporting caregivers to focus on their responsibilities
  • Promote opportunities for early learning and responsive caregiving

Outreach in June, July & August 2020
(as of 28th August 2020)

We have ensured that on a daily basis, 48,887 children have continued to learn through play with our PlayAtHome kit. We have guided and supported 1,998 teachers and 6,871 parents through 402 support groups. 

We have come together with our existing collaborators, who have brought in new ones. Thus, we have formed a chain that has empowered us to take our interventions beyond the state of Maharashtra and reach out to the children in Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Ladakh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. To continue building more resilient and happy childhoods, we look forward to forming a similar nexus of old supporters and new ones through them. Strength in numbers, like it’s said.


The New Education Policy, finally recognizing Play-based learning

Our play approach, which has focused on discovery and participative learning, has also finally been visualized in the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) by the Union Cabinet. With a greater focus on experiential learning, under the new policy, the pedagogy will aim for holistic development of students by way of reducing curricular content and enhancing critical as well as creative thinking. Through multifaceted learning that includes numeracy, literacy, scientific and mathematical concepts, resilience-building activities, good personal hygiene and habits to stay healthy and safe, the PlayAtHome Kit enhances holistic learning of our children.

The NEP acknowledges the significance of fun and interactive learning at the early childhood stage and that a strong base of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) will promote better overall learning, development, and well-being. Toybank’s Play program has been working towards this for the past 16 years by curating play sessions and now the PlayAtHome kit through a needs based and age-appropriate lens.


Support Play to make #EveryChildResilient

“The true object of all human life is play.”

Crises have the tendency to make children grow up faster. Toybank’s endeavor is to ensure they remain children no matter what. Learning and playing must not stop for them. You, our dearest supporters, will enable us to continue providing mental relief and learning to our children for years to come.

Together, with you we look forward to strengthening our reach and building stronger and resilient children.
Hope you are all in the best health and spirits.

Thank you and Happy Toybanking!

Hands-on learning of manmade and natural resources
Hands-on learning of manmade and natural resources
Outreach from June to August 2020
Outreach from June to August 2020
Children discussing good and bad eating habits
Children discussing good and bad eating habits
Bowling and staying active while social distancing
Bowling and staying active while social distancing
Children color words to find hidden sentences
Children color words to find hidden sentences

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Organization Information

The Opentree Foundation

Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Toybank
Project Leader:
Shweta Chari
Mumbai, Maharashtra India
$69,113 raised of $100,000 goal
 
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