Aflatot

What is Aflatot Program?

The Aflatot programme for children who have not yet entered primary school (usually 3-6 years of age) provides an early childhood education programme that lays the foundation for this social and financial literacy. The programme builds on the evidence in early childhood education that such early investments provide children with advantages that are amplified and reinforced over time.

Why Aflatot?

Early childhood is the most critical time for positive intervention. Children’s development during this stage is strongly affected by their environment, and that effect continues to exert a strong influence on the rest of their lives. It is of the utmost importance that educational and life-skills programmes such as Aflatot also begin at this early stage. Children gather the building blocks of social and financial literacy even before they get to primary school. Much of what they know about planning, budgeting, saving, spending and using resources is based on their daily routine. Even before monetary concepts are learned, simple concepts such as making full use of available resources, i.e. ‘finishing one’s food’ or ‘buying only necessities’, are some of the daily realities that young children are exposed to that already relate to Financial Education.

Preschool children are also developing time-preferences when they understand that there are times when it is better to wait for something rather than to have it now. Children as young as 3 years of age are exposed to the social values of giving and sharing, not just with gifts or tangible materials, but also with interaction with others. Other important life skills that are embedded in Aflatot include taking turns, making decisions and setting goals. We believe that, even in their early years, children are highly capable and competent, regardless of their backgrounds, experiences and ages. Children are active, self-motivated learners eager to understand the world in which they live, and learn when supported through adult interactions.

MelJol has piloted Aflatot program in year 2014-15, in 60 ICDS centers (Integrated Child Development Scheme) supported by Department of Women and Child Development, Maharashtra. It has trained 67 ICDS teachers who then have taken this program up to 1200 children in the areas like Ghatkopar and Santacruz of Mumbai. MelJol has also incorporated parent’s participation to ensure their active involvement in the program.

Five Core Components of Aflatot Program:

 

You, Me and Aflatoun: Developing a positive sense of well being and identity

It gives introduction to Aflatoun to the children by explaining what the program is all about. It builds on Aflatoun’s core component of self exploration and understanding and Exploration; wherein children are encouraged towards greater self knowledge and self confidence.

Me and My Family: Taking care of the people we love

This section focuses on the important relations that young children have with their family. Children will familiarize with themselves with different family components, the names of our family members, the important role that the people around us have. This section also introduces the concept of work and why work is important. It reinforces the importance of what our family members do in their work.

Me and my friends: Helping each other

This section explores the importance of friendships that our friends give to us and what we can give them. It also talks about the special commonalities that we have with our friends and how we use our talents and interests.

Me and my community: Living and working together

This section expands young children’s understanding about the world around them. It focuses on the immediate community and what can be seen. It aims to improve their understanding of the concept of neighbourhood and community, and to start familiarising them with basic dynamics related to buying and selling.

Me and Money: Spending, saving and sharing

This component focuses basic financial literacy concepts and builds upon them to help children to make their first step into social and financial education. The section is structured in such a way that the children will first learn to understand what money is and that it has value. The children will also learn to understand the concepts of spending, saving and sharing. The children will be encouraged to use all the concepts and skills that have learnt throughout curriculum and the culminating module will introduce the children about social and financial enterprise.

Major Activities of Aflatot programme:

 

Teachers’ Training Workshop:

Aflatot programme is designed to promote learning of Social and Financial Education, based on the previously mentioned five core elements of Aflatoun programme. Since the Aflatot programme is not intended to serve as a complete curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care, but rather, as s supplemental curriculum focusing on skills and attitudes relating to Social and Financial Education. Teachers and Facilitators are therefore, encouraged to incorporate Aflatot programme into their Early Childhood Education programmes.

Training threshold will be on the massive use of active learning methodologies like storytelling, group work, image theatre, group presentation, games and songs considering the age group of the children. The trained pool of Aflatot teachers will then implement the Aflatot programme in their pre schools.

The Aflatoun Journey Box:

The teachers encourage children to prepare Aflatoun journey boxes and Aflatoun money boxes. In Aflatot programme, teachers will encourage children to save different things that are valuable to them. This will help them learn about protecting valuable items. It may be Afaltoun coins, photos of loved ones, arts and craft material that they have prepared during the sessions etc. The teachers will help children decorating the Aflatoun journey and money boxes. Children will showcase their boxes during the annual fair of Aflatot programme.

Neighborhood visits:

Children will learn best about their neighborhood and community if they engage with it. Neighborhood visits can bring children to markets, banks, government buildings or other places that are appropriate for young children. The teachers will ensure that they have enough support of other adult volunteers to accompany the children. The children will make understand about the traffic and safety rules concerning being outside.

The Aflatoun fair:

A collective work will be done at the end of the year in which children will showcase their activities. Aflatoun fair will be organized at the end of the programme. They will invite their parents, friends and other people from the neighborhood to cheer them. Children with the help of teachers will organize a market place and will exhibit their arts and crafts using Aflatoun coins.

Activities with Parents:

The teachers, throughout the Aflatot programme, engage the parents of the children with some concrete activities. The teachers will organize interactive sessions of the parents for the children. They will share about their work to get money, about their experiences of childhood with the children to make them understand importance of their hardship. The parents will be actively engaged in the different activities along with the children throughout the sessions of Aflatot programme.