Blocks, puzzles, puppets – Modi government releases guidance document on toy-based learning for school children

New Delhi: Blocks, puzzles, masks, puppets and sand art are some of the new tools Indian schools will now use to teach children. The central government has developed a game-based pedagogy to help schoolchildren aged 3 to 18 understand basic science and math concepts and develop their sensory and motor skills.

The policy document released by the Ministry of Education on Wednesday is in line with the new National education policy 2020, which suggests experiential learning (learning by doing an activity) for all age groups.

“When we talk about toys in school education, we mainly focus on indigenous toys and games. Toys such as the spinning top, known as the tattoo (Tops), firki (spinning wheel), kites, dug dugi (rattle), phirni (reel), magic cards, flying birds, magic snake, etc. are some of the examples that are delicious playthings used in our country,” the document reads.

He adds: “The identification of toys, puppets and games to be used at the appropriate school stages and in different subjects should be done by a group of curriculum developers from different disciplines.”

With this, the government is also planning to revive some of the old traditional games like gilli danda, chaupar (a traditional form of board game) and kabaddi.

The document also suggests using toys for infants and toddlers – those under the age of 3 – at the preschool level for their initial development.

For example, the use of a squeeze ball has been suggested to help children improve their grasping ability and wooden rattles to help them develop their hand-eye coordination and sense of hearing. The use of other toys, such as building blocks, has also been suggested to teach them colors and numbers.

Manish Jain, a faculty member of the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar and a member of the institute’s Center for Creative Learning (CCL), together with his team, mapped the learning outcomes of the evidence-based pedagogy toys.

Speaking to ThePrint, he said: ‘Classrooms these days have kind of become tasteless and boring. When learning a subject, the most important thing for a student is joy, and toy-based pedagogy contributes to this. We try to make learning fun and interesting. When children look at a toy and engage with it, they ask questions, think, and their skills develop. They don’t just cram things out of a book and churn them out on an answer sheet. »

Jain is currently training school teachers in toy-based education. His team runs an online program called “30-30 STEM,” which offers lessons for educators on how to engage children in toy-based pedagogy.

“Toys and activities will play a very important role in learning. If you use a lot of activities while learning, you learn a lot more,” he said, adding that he had so far received wonderful responses from the teachers trained in their program.

Jain and her team have also held workshops with public school children and received encouraging feedback.

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A toy for every lesson

Pedagogy suggests the use of different types of toys for different age groups, the CCA found.

For example, for children in the 8-11 age group, magnets have been suggested to “develop observation, exploration and range of senses”. The policy document also suggests the use of geometric solids as toys to play with, to “gain an understanding of shapes, explore the area and perimeter of simple geometric shapes, and estimate the volume of a solid body in known units.” .

For children in the older age brackets (14-18), the use of a self-resuscitation toy has been suggested to help children “improve their emotional management skills, intelligence, awareness of self, their introspection and their decision-making”.

It was suggested to develop a toy car powered by a balloon to study “pressure, force, Newton’s third law of motion”.

The policy document also suggests introducing indigenous toys and games to teach children about Indian history and culture.

For example, it offers an introduction to Kondapalli toys (painted wooden toys) traditionally made in Andhra Pradesh, torans (wall hangings) and cloth dolls made in Gujarat and Rajasthan, and marble balls, bracelets and animal figurines from Uttar Pradesh.

He also proposes to introduce clay pottery and miniatures that resemble those of the Harappan era so that children learn about civilizations.

(Editing by Poulomi Banerjee)

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