Playfully Back to School

How would you feel if post a long summer vacation you were welcomed back to school with a classroom filled with games? Excited and joyful, right? That’s precisely how children across Maharashtra felt as teachers used games from Toybank’s Play2Learn Centres to welcome children back to school. 


Teachers arranged games across the classroom for children to begin their school year learning through play.

In Mumbai, children walked into classrooms full of games from our Play2Learn Centres. These games were divide into categories such as language building, cognitive development, and mathematical practice to excite children about what to expect this academic year. After long school closures and the digital divide, teachers noticed a high level of learning regression in children. “Two years of the pandemic has drastically affected the learning levels of our students. Our 3rd graders are at the learning levels of 1st grade students. But we see them learning and picking up concepts faster during the Play Sessions conducted by Toybank Programme Officers. These sessions allow children to enjoy learning and not see it as boring which I think is very beneficial for them,” shared Medha Dhumal, Principal at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Prathmik Vidyalaya. 

“Children didn’t want to go back home and insisted the Play sessions be stretched,” 
—Vijay Nikam, Program Officer based in Latur, Maharashtra. 

While in the rural areas of Maharashtra, the start of the new academic year was celebrated flamboyantly with decorated tractors taking children to school. This ‘Pravesh Utsav’ or ‘Welcome Back Festival’ had children getting small gifts like flowers and welcomed to Play Sessions. Teachers also ensured that the initial days were packed with play-based sessions to make learning at school fun and engaging for children. 

“I am hoping to see more students turn up to school after this Play2Learn session,” shared Farzana Sheikh, principal at a government school in Mumbai. “While playing children exhibit a different style and pattern of learning—some are drawn to shapes and pictures and learn words through these puzzles. It's a good site to see kids playing with Mechanix- where they build something on their own.” 

Children happily play together building social skills like sharing, collaboration, and communication in Beed (city in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra)

When the pandemic isolated children and took away avenues for children to play together, it consequently affected children’s socio-emotional skill development. During school closures, our partner teachers armed with playsheets ensured play never stopped and now at schools, today they use games stocked at Play2Learn centres to kickstart the academic year with a play-packed timetable. 

Found this interesting? Share this blog to inspire parents, teachers or caregivers to create more safe and happy spaces for children to benefit through Play! 


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