Profile of an ECCE Centre: Allocation of Equipment and Materials (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Allocation of Equipment and Materials

  • Merely procuring the equipment and learning materials for the center does not ensure a joyful learning environment. They are selected and purchased with the main purpose to give opportunities to children to explore and manipulate them. For optimal hands-on learning to take place, equipment and materials must be arranged so that children have direct access to them.
  • Some of the ways of appropriate allocation of equipment and materials at the ECCE center to make it an interesting place promoting individual and small group experiences.
  • If the center is big enough, try to divide it into different activity areas like: art and craft area, science and sensory area, block and puzzles area, music and movement area, cooking area etc. and then locate the materials according to the requirement of the specific areas.
  • Active, noisy play should happen away from quiet and focused activities. Wet, messy play activities need to be grouped around a sink. All the materials should be organized and grouped together in a specific area so that children can find, use and return materials independently.
  • The equipment and materials need to be clearly visible and accessible. This can be done through storage at accessible heights (at or below 3 ft from ground level) and proper labeling (pictures and words) of materials.
  • Create well marked pathways so that children can move easily from one area of the room to another without disturbing others. The materials should be arranged in such a way that it should facilitate easy transition from one activity to another.
  • Place equipment in such a way that it allows teachers to supervise the work of individual children. Special consideration may be made for children with special needs.
  • Outdoor space, however, can be used in multiple ways like art and dramatic play, sand and water activities etc. Hence, equipment and materials can be located accordingly.
  • Provide a large floor space for group activities.
  • Children՚s art should be displayed on walls attractively at their eye level.

Space Management

Good planning is essential for the smooth running of the center. All activity areas should be so located that the children are able to move freely from one activity area to another without unduly disturbing others.

Space Management

Besides, activity areas should be divided in such a manner that children in one area are not distracted by those in other areas. Well-organized space promotes desired behaviours and facilitates positive interaction between the children and staff. It also helps in the proper location of required learning materials.

Maintenance and Utilisation of Equipment and Learning Materials

  • It is essential to ensure that equipment՚s are well maintained and in working order. The first step in this direction is regular inspection of the classroom, equipment and materials ensuring their long life.
  • Teachers sometimes get discouraged about using materials that require intricate handling/assembling because of the time and energy involved in their maintenance.

Some are discussed below:

  • Dusting, cleaning and sterilizing all equipment should be done regularly to avoid the spread of germs.
  • Toys made of washable material should be washed and kept clean at all times to prevent spread of disease producing germs.
  • Enough storage space is necessary to maintain cleanliness as well as for easy access of the materials at the time of use. Space to store children՚s personal belongings is also essential.
  • All storage containers and shelves must be labeled with pictures or words. While the initial set up of a labeling system is time-consuming, once in place, it helps children and the staff to put back the materials in their designated places.
  • Organize storage of small items like beads, crayons, picture cards etc. in labelled tubs or baskets for easy clean-up.
  • Try to place areas requiring clean up in close proximity to a water source with available cleaning materials.
  • Materials that have not been used for a long time may be rotated frequently and new things added to sustain the interest of children.
  • All electrical fittings and heating appliances should be out of the reach of children. They need to be checked regularly and repaired immediately to avoid any accident.

The Quality Standards for ECCE has been approved by the Government of India in 2013 - 14. Let us study the provisions mentioned in the document.

The following non-negotiables must be made available to all children attending any kind of ECCE provision:

  • Duration of the ECCE programme should be three to four hours
  • One classroom measuring 35 square meters for a group of 30 children and availability of 30 square meters of outdoor space for a group of 30 children
  • The building should be structurally safe and within easy approach. It should be clean and should have surrounding green area
  • Clean drinking water should be available
  • Separate toilets for girls and boys should be available
  • Immediate health service in terms of First Aid/Medical Kit should be available at the center. It should be checked regularly against a checklist and anything that has been used, must be replaced immediately. The expiry, if any, must be checked.
  • Adequately trained staff should be appointed
  • There should be provision of adequate developmentally appropriate toys and learning materials
  • Space should be allocated for cooking meals and nap time for children.
  • The adult-child ratio should be 1: 20 for three to six-year-old children and 1: 10 for children under three years. Source: Quality Standards for ECCE 2012, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India.

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