Employees of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) are on their feet to enrol children in select anganwadis in the district where nursery classes based on Montessori education in English medium will be imparted from the coming academic year.
The programme launched earlier this year by the School Education Department envisages start of pre-school on Montessori pattern in anganwadis attached to government middle schools, to begin with.
According to official reports, the project would cover 52,933 children in 2,381 anganwadis in the State. in Tiruchi district, 88 anganwadis are set to transform into pre-schools with LKG and UKG sections under Montessori pattern, official sources said.
The teachers posted to these anganwadis are to be trained under Samagra Siksha programme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The new scheme proposed last year subsumes Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Rastriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan and Teacher Education.
According to officials, parents in both urban and rural parts are responding positively to the campaign by the ICDS and the School Education department for enrolling their wards in the anganwadis. The parents feel convinced when they are told that their wards will receive course completion certificate, four pairs of uniforms, colour pencils, crayons and footwear for free, according to an employee of ICDS engaged in the campaign for enrolment.
In all likelihood, the education department will be posting surplus lady teachers in primary schools for handling classes in the anganwadis, it is learnt.
The government took a decision to offer Montessori training under the formal system in compliance with an order of the Madras High Court.
Section 11 in The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, states that the onus of offering free pre-school education was on the State governments, to prepare children above the age of three years for elementary education and to provide early childhood care.
Text books for LKG and UKG will be formulated by SCERT (State Council of Education Research and Training), Tamil Nadu, sources said.
Meanwhile, teachers organisations emphasised that increase in enrolment must be preceded by strengthening of infrastructure at the anganwadis chosen for the programme under the first phase.