Sesame Workshop India unveils its ‘Play Learn Connect’ initiative
Aimed at empowering parents/caregivers from low-resourced communities to meaningfully engage in playful learning for holistic development of their children, SWI designed its intervention basis a baseline study of temporary migrant families to ascertain their level of understanding about play-based education, gender-bias in interpreting emotions, parenting strategies, discipline styles & behavior mechanisms.
The intervention focused on promoting play-based education to help children develop the right set of skills by engaging caregivers of 2600 families in the marginalized communities including construction sites of Delhi NCR . Over the course of implementation, caregivers were reached via mobile phones, audio episodes, weekly sessions with facilitators where they were supported to help their children manage emotions, recognize the importance of play to build bonding with children and more.
Over the course of implementation, it was found that caregivers who were already grappling with the after-effects of the pandemic, prioritized basic necessities, such as nutrition, health, safety, and good education over emotional well-being. However, it is because of the sensitivity of content design, facilitation and empathetic ground partners that the organization has been able to bring forward encouraging improvements in the attitudes of caregivers and families.
In comparison with the baseline, 20.32% parents now feel that children learn how to manage their own feelings better with support of adults
Parents have demonstrated a positive shift of 15.44% with regards to the belief that children should learn to hide their feelings.
While still pronounced, there has been a significant improvement in terms of gender bias and stereotyping with 26.4% fewer parents feeling that girls should learn to suppress their anger and other emotions as compared to the baseline.
The intervention tries to normalize crying for boys & support their emotional expression by improving the perception of caregivers by 18.7% with regards to them crying when stressed.
While toxic stereotypes of masculinity are still prevalent, the intervention witnessed a significant improvement with 20.8% fewer caregivers believing that boys who express a lot of feelings face problems when they grow up.
A significant improvement was found in terms of father’s involvement in play activities with children. An increase of 27.2% was observed in children reporting their father as a play partner as compared to the baseline.
However, there are a few concerning findings as well that were uncovered with the intention of guiding future interventions with children and families:
A reduction of 14% in parents believing that boys and girls should play similar games was observed.
Not much impact was made in terms of parent’s beliefs on nutritional practices such as children eating three meals a day(0.73% improvement), drinking 2-3 litres of water per day (2.7% improvement) and ghee being healthy in a child’s daily routine (1.65% reduction) with almost identical reporting during both baseline and endline phases.
While parents have demonstrated improved attitudes with regards to spending time with children and play-based education, parents’ perception of helping children understand their feelings has declined by 14.05%