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What are the Quality Standards in place for Play Schools & Pre-Schools?


 There has been a proliferation of Play Schools & Pre-Schools in the recent times. But what are the guidelines & quality standards in place for such entities? Here is a look at the quality standards laid down in the ECCE policy.     


The government’s  Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme or more commonly known as the Anganwadi scheme is probably the largest such program  in the world. The scheme’s primary beneficiaries are children in the 0-6 age group (158 million as per 2011 Census). The scheme offers six services and  ‘Pre-school Education’ is one of the six services extended under this scheme. In the recent times, there has been a proliferation of private play schools and pre-schools. To lay down certain norms & standards for such entities, the government had notified the ‘ National Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) Policy’  in 2013. Among other things, the policy lays down certain non-negotiable quality standards to be followed by all such service providers.

The Non-Negotiable Quality Standards for Play Schools & Pre-Schools

 At the minimum, all ECCE service providers have to comply with the following non-negotiable indicators

  • An ECCE programme should be of 4 hours’ duration with snack/break time of 30 minutes
  • For every group of 30 children, there should be one classroom measuring at least 35 square meters & availability of adequate (at least 30 square meters) outdoor playing area
  • Presence of adequately trained staff
  • Use of age and developmentally appropriate, child centric curriculum transacted in the mother tongue/local vernacular
  • Availability of adequate developmentally appropriate toys and learning materials
  • The building should be structurally safe and within easy approach. It should be clean & should have surrounding green area
  • Provision for adequate and safe drinking water
  • Provision for adequate and separate child-friendly toilets and hand wash facilities for girls and boys
  • Provision of separate space for cooking nutritionally balanced meals and nap time for children
  • Availability of immediate health service in terms of First Aid/ Medical Kit at the centre
  • Ratio of 1:20 for adult caregiver/child for 3-6 year old children and 1:10 for under 3 children. Children should not be left unattended at any given point of time

Play Schools and Pre-Schools Quality Standards_1

Quality Standards & Framework

The guidelines also specify the following eight Quality Standards.

InteractionCaregiver/ ECCE Teacher-child interaction
Child - Child interaction
Child – environment interaction
Staff- family/ parent interaction
Intra staff interaction
Health, Nutrition, Personal Care and RoutineHealth (check-up, first aid, immunization, handling illness)
Habit formation
Protective Care and SafetyAdult supervision
Socio/Emotional protection
Physical safety
Infrastructure/ Physical EnvironmentSpace, building, outdoors
Aesthetics , cleanliness, green area
Safety and approach
Water facility
Toilet facility
Organization and ManagementProgram
Philosophy and methods
Documentation and records
Program planning
Parent involvement
Financial management (fee, salary, fund allocation)
Staffing(adequacy, professional qualifications, professional development)
Children experiences and learning opportunitiesProvide opportunities for exploration, experimentation
Encourage child to make choices and participate in play
Foster child’s language and literacy abilities
Develop problem solving and mathematical abilities
Promote each child’s physical abilities
Nurture development and maintenance of relationships
Cultivate enjoyment of and participation in expressive art
Assessment and outcome measuresAssessment methods
Assessment reporting
Facilitating development through assessment
Staff assessment and Development
Program assessment
Managing to support quality SystemCaregiver/ ECCE Teacher education and on site professional development
Monitoring and supportive supervision

The National ECCE Council and corresponding Councils at State level  are supposed to act as the regulatory & monitoring bodies in charge of periodic review, co-ordination with other departments and creating public awareness among other things .

The government has also released the ECCE curriculum framework  to be followed by all ECCE service providers. ECCE training module for Anganwadi workers  has also been released recently. An e-learning module  has also been developed. These modules can be accessed from the website of  National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development.Play Schools and Pre-Schools Quality Standards_2

Play Schools and Pre-Schools Quality Standards_last

Action Point: If you come across any Play School or Pre-School not conforming to the relevant standards, write to the Women & Child Development department of the State Government  or file a grievance on the CPGRAMS  portal with the Ministry of Women & Child Development of Government of India. 



About Author

Rakesh has been working on issues related to Right to Information (RTI) for a decade. He is a Data/Information enthusiast & passionate about Governance/Policy issues.

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