Launched in 1999, School on Wheels is an innovative program of Door Step School, designed to reach children in certain locations where even a temporary classroom cannot be set up and hence children remain deprived of their basic right to education. It caters to children from extremely marginalized sections from migrant underprivileged communities who live by the roadside, on pavements or in open areas outside the city. These communities perform their traditional occupations or sell petty items, beg or do odd jobs for a living. There is a whole lot of lack of awareness about education and general well-being in these communities.
School on Wheels caters to children in such a surrounding by taking the classroom to their doorstep. It is a bus modified into a classroom with all necessary supplies including a TV, DVD player and educational audio-visual learning material. It provides a stable setting in which students learn basic literacy and arithmetic skills and ensures regular attendance.
There are 9 buses currently operational in Pune. School on Wheels covering 36 locations every day. Each bus can accommodate up to 20 to 25 children in the age group of 3 to 14 years with 2 to 3 DSS teachers. The bus is parked at a location and 2 hours sessions are conducted with children from teaching to conducting various activities with them for their overall development. It is also used as a mobile reading room for children from neighboring communities and provides them access to a variety of books and a place to read.
Objective of the Project:
- Enroll children into mainstream schools.
- Provide study support to cope with the school environment and reduce school dropouts.
- Pre-school program to preparing children for formal education
- Tracking migrated children to ensure continued education.
- Creating awareness about the importance of children’s education among parents and motivating them to own the responsibility of their children’s education by getting actively involved.
Balwadi (Kindergarten) – School Readiness Program:
Balwadi classes are run for children between 3-6 years with the focus to get them ready for school & ensure that they do not have adjustment issues while enrolled to schools. Our focus while working with them is on their attention spans, their ability to sit in one place for a longer duration, social skills, language skills, physical and mental development.
Study Classes (SC):
Sutdy Classes are conducted for children between 6-14 years of age who are enrolled to formal schools. Since we are working with migrant children, a lot of children might have had to move out and when they come back to our classes, they tend to forget what they might have learnt before. The SCs help these children to revise their previous learning. Also, under the RTE Act children have to be enrolled to their age appropriate classes. So a lot of children who have never been to school before lag behind in their studies and eventually lose their interest in school. Hence, the Study Classes enable us to help bridge their gap thus helping them catch up.
Literacy classes are conducted for those children between 6-14 years of age who are not formally enrolled to schools. A few children are not enrolled to schools due to various reasons. Our efforts are normally to enrol them to schools and we work continually for the same. But till the time this is accomplished those students come under our Literacy Classes.
The objective of running library classes is so that children develop interest in reading and comprehension. They often learn to read however, due to lack of practice their reading does not develop. Their vocabulary and understanding also need to be improved upon. So we ensure that they begin to enjoy reading. This is done through giving them a variety of books to read and through various activities to support their reading.
Projects: Every month a project topic is assigned to the Centres and the teachers facilitate learning through various types of activities related to this topic like story-telling, songs, Art and Craft activities, simple experiments, preparing models, etc. This is done for all children from ages 3 to 14 years of age.
Practical application of scientific concepts helps children understand and assimilate the concepts better. We have seen that they become more curious about things around them and begin taking interest in science. We strive to give hands-on experience of handling the laboratory equipment to the children in association with Quest Science and Mathematics Laboratory, Pune. Children participate in and conduct experiments designed for them. These experiments are relevant to them as they explain the working principles behind the things that relate to their everyday environment or their school syllabus.