Over twenty years ago, Pratham began working in the slums of Mumbai. Our first effort was to start balwadis which were community-based pre-school centres usually by local young women for young children. We believe that the foundations laid in "early years" play a critical role in a child's later life. Today Pratham has a diverse set of activities in the early childhood space, working directly in communities as well as through partnerships with anganwadis/ICDS system and with primary schools. In the last few years, this program has grown in scope and scale. In 2017, there were Pratham "early years" activities in 13 states in 2017.

One of our newest and most exciting partnerships is in Punjab. Pratham has been working in Punjab both directly in schools and communities and also in partnership with the government since 2006. These activities have largely been in the primary and upper-primary age group. Recently, Punjab government decided to open a pre-school class in each of their approximately 14000 primary schools. As Pratham, we are proud to partner with them on this exciting new effort.

The program was officially launched across the state, in all primary schools, on 14th of November, 2017. The pre and post event activities included mobilization activities and door to door visits, classroom decoration, registration stalls and interaction with parents and children. The launch included videos on activities shared with the resource cadre to help them understand and implement the program effectively. Efforts are also being made to awareness in the community regarding the importance of pre-school education.

The launch has been followed by a rigorous training process. Over a period of time, approximately 14,000 teachers from primary schools of Punjab will be trained on the program in 6 phases. These teachers will be accountable for the functioning of pre-school units in the respective primary schools during in-school implementation and assessments.
Recently, about 250 government teachers participated in the 4-day pre-primary Resource Person Training Workshop at Chandigarh. Mr. Krishan Kumar, Secretary School Education – Punjab, inaugurated the Pre-primary Training Manual and package of materials on the last day of the training. He admired the effective and low-cost teaching-learning material made by the teachers in collaboration with Pratham for making the process of learning enjoyable for children. He also stated that this kind of material will work wonders for children in the preschool age group and help in building a brighter future.