Build Back Happiness Through Play

 Toybank’s Play2Learn Programme Update Report for April-June 2022

Living in a low-income family that resides in the slum areas of Dhobi Ghat, Rajesh (name changed) wasn’t exposed to many spatial-skill building games or toys at home. When our Programme Officer introduced a new game called Tangram to the class, Rajesh was super excited to see it. He loved the vibrant colours and challenge the game posed. Initially, he couldn't figure out how sharp shapes like squares and triangles could build a rounded shape like a heart. 

When he got stuck, he raised his hand and asked a Programme Officer to guide him. After a little guidance, Rajesh together with his bench mate put together a heart with semi-circles. The 7-year-old slowly understood how simple geometric shapes like circles, triangles and rectangles can come together to form complex shapes of heart, parallelograms, as well as shapes of animals. 

Building spatial ability at a young age will lay the foundation to comprehend subjects like geometry, 3D objects and build spatial intelligence that’s needed to pursue professions in design, engineering, architecture and more.

—Story shared by Alisha Lobo, Programme Officer in charge of Play2Learn Centre U148, Abhinav Dhyan Mandir School

The new academic year brought about a sense of excitement and hope for what lies ahead—a post-pandemic time where children can regularly attend school, engage with learning in the classroom and continue to play with their friends. As schools and our Play2Learn centres slowly re-opened after the summer vacations, our team was ready to kick-start our in-person play sessions and interactions with the children and teachers. The teachers welcomed the children back to school with Play, creating a safe and happy learning environment in their classrooms for every student, with the support of our Programme Officers. We are humbled, yet take immense pride in our team who have ensured that the progress we have made for our children won’t reverse. 

Toybank - Development through Play, has been delivering it’s hybrid Play2Learn programme to 60,000+ children across 12 districts in Maharashtra and 4 states and 1 Union Territory in India. The programme guides and supports 19,500 caregivers through 645 support groups and 420+ Play2Learn centres (as of 30th June 2022). Here’s a quick update of all the work done together between April-June 2022. We look forward to continuing to create safe, happy learning spaces with opportunities for them to learn and holistically develop through Play!

387 Play2Learn sessions were conducted by our Programme Officers and partner teachers. In quarter 1, while Programme Officers conducted in-person Play2Learn Sessions once the schools reopened after the summer break, our partner teachers also incorporated our Play2Learn activities into their daily lesson plan. They conducted games and solved Play2Learn sheets on the board in order to have engaging classes as they welcomed children back to school.

Children from our Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Prathmik Vidyalaya Play2Learn centre in Mumbai learn about parts of the body, mathematical equations and animal names through Puzzle games stocked up at the centre, during play sessions led by the Toybank team and teachers.     

Through WhatsApp Support Groups, we delivered 62 Play2Learn digital activities that were professionally designed to include age-appropriate content aligned with their academic curriculum, life skills and socio-emotional skills. The activities aided in the development of integral life skills like critical thinking, socio-emotional well-being, and cognitive skills, while also aligning with their academic curriculum.

Children build on their alphabet identification and language skills through the activity ‘Find the Letter’. Teachers also used the sheets in their classes, further supporting the children to transition back to in-person learning from digital.

The teachers also used the Play2Learn sheets as a tool in their classes when schools reopened in June, making the session more engaging and fun for the children. Here’s a video of how Supriya Sakharkar, teacher from Mumbai Public School Rajawadi (CBSE), used our Digital Play2Learn sheet- ‘Sentence Snakes’ in her classroom to help children learn short and long sentence formation. 

  • Between April-June 2022, we conducted Power of Play Workshops for 296 teachers from 133 centres, which supported them in aligning play-based learning with their academic curriculum and effectively using the Play2Learn digital activities and board games at the centres. The workshop was geared to:

  1. Reconnect the teachers to the benefits of Play-based Learning and re-orient them about the Toybank Hybrid Play2Learn Programme

  2. Train them on new games and how to effectively use them inside classrooms as a part of their daily classroom teaching to build a healthy Teacher-Student bond

  3. Maintain a strong relationship between our field programme officer and the teachers to ensure effective facilitation of Play2Learn Sessions and better classroom management as they integrate play into their classes.

Teachers collaborated, shared their challenges and worked together to complete puzzles and games during the ‘Power of Play workshops’ held in Mumbai in May 2022. A total of They also identified and discussed various skills each game would boost in children post the session.

“While we are all from different schools and don’t get to meet each other often, together we learn to understand each other's point of view and cooperate to solve the puzzles. I believe that students will also learn the importance of listening, responding and collaborating through these games,” said Deepika Bhaskar, Teacher, Dadar Woollen Mills Municipal School (ICSE), after attending the Power of Play workshop.

“This is my first training session. I haven't attended any such session before as I just joined the school 2 months back. Through the training, I learned how we can teach children through Play. I really liked the games: ‘Multiplica’ and ‘Multiples and Factors’ as they teach the children the 4 mathematical functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I was impressed with the game and will use these games to teach children math,” shared Gaikwad Saibho, Teacher from Shree Chatrapati Shivaji Jr Basic School,  Nanded during his post-session feedback interview. 

Replacement of 4638 Games across 171 Play2Learn Centres: After permissions to conduct in-person meetings came through post the reopening of schools after the summer break, our POs were able to conduct stock checks at the Play2Learn Centres and initiate the process of restocking games and play material. The partner teachers see this positively, as now,  children will have opportunities to learn and play from not just the digital Play2Learn sheets but also board games.

As schools and community centres reopened, the children excitedly engaged with the newly stocked games at the centres. Games like ‘Junior Mechanix and Stacking Drums’ enabled the children as they transitioned back to in-person learning from digital. (Z.P.P.S. Yeli, Osmanabad and Kushi Bal Bhavan Centre, Ahmednagar)

World Play Day Celebrations: On 28th of May, Team Toybank organised a Play-based Drama Workshop, led by the popular actor-coach Shaun Williams. The workshop enabled children to express themselves, explore their creativity, and learn fundamental movement techniques using their bodies.

Around 35 children from a local slum community enjoyed a day filled with free play through the Play-Based Drama workshop.


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