Today, children from low-income communities in India, are facing adversities that have long term psychological, emotional and physical effects. (The World Health Organisation defines this as “Failure to Thrive”)
Additionally, there is lack of life-skills, character building and social emotional learning tools in low income schools and communities to equip them with a way to better deal with these adversities and work towards a sustainable future. Though efforts are being made to increase the reach of academics, there is very little focus on enhancing this education to include teaching of the necessary life skills and social emotional learning.
This manifests in the child’s ability, not just to perform academically in the classroom, but also to think critically, make informed decisions and negotiate risks and challenges, reducing the quality of their lives and their productive participation in the society.
*These results are from a study conducted by The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
Alternative education like art education in early years is needed to facilitate enhancement in life and motor skills, creative and critical thinking and social emotional learning. Even though art education is compulsory up to 8th grade in the Maharashtra State Board curriculum, it is often neglected in low income schools, and the limited resources available are diverted to core subjects like math and science.
Worsening the situation, there is a general lack of willingness and commitment to education, specially alternative education, from various stakeholders involved a child’s life. Plus, the lack of a safe space (both mental and physical) for self-expression and socioemotional growth results in the children forming rigid ideologies which adversely affects their behaviour and decision making.