Deshpande Skilling
Kindling the hidden spark

Kindling the hidden spark


Swati Jeeragi Mantur village

If the covid pandemic was tough on adults, it was brutal on children. Cut off from their schools and prohibited from playing with their neighborhood friends, it was truly the lonely winter of their lives. Online classes had provided but a weak semblance of school. The scenario was even more stark in rural areas.

Schools reopened in Karnataka after nearly 2 years to mixed responses. Many children were happy to return to their classes, but some were reluctant. One such wary child was Swati Jeeragi, a Class 1 student at Government Higher Primary Kannada Girls School at Mantur village. Having grown accustomed to leisurely watching her lessons on WhatsApp, she did not want to return to the rigour of full-time classroom-schooling. Her parents tried with all their might to persuade her, but she did not relent.

"Swati overcame the pandemic-induced learning lethargy to become one of the brightest students of her class," says the Education instructor.

While the tussle played out in Swati’s house, the instructors of EarlySpark had begun their intervention at her school. They shortly learnt of the little girl and her unwilling stance. The instructor went to Swati’s house, motivated & convinced her to attend school that day. Swati sat for a total of 90 minutes. The instructor took special interest in her, slowly drawing her out of her shell. Within a few days, she was able to complete the subject worksheets and the instructor praised her in front of her classmates. Thereon, she would sit through the day, enjoying the vibrant picture cards and creative activities, all brought to her with dollops of dedication.

Swati’s renewed interest in school was largely a result of the specialized curriculum developed by Early Childhood Education experts. English language development, social and emotional learning, and Science and Math with Arts integrated in the form of activities, provided holistic development for the child. The pedagogy is designed to allow many opportunities for children to explore their inherent curiosity, critical thinking, and communication skills. Children are thus happy to come to school, while the teachers can maximize their time and efficiency, producing results.

The instructors are pleased that Swati has overcome the pandemic-induced learning lethargy to become one of the brightest students of the class, enthusiastically answering questions and asking many herself. Her parents smile with pride at her rapid academic progress in Math and English reading, while they sincerely hope that this sparkle of their daughter grows into a shining beacon for all their village.