Sangati

Sangati means togetherness, relevance, harmony. The Sangati series is intended to serve as a foundation course to enrich and supplement the school curriculum. It consists of six interactive learning kits for teachers and children in formal schools and Non-formal Education (NFE) centres. In formal schools, teachers can use it as a foundation course for Classes V – VII. In non-formal schools/groups, it can serve as a post-literacy programme for children between the ages of 10 and 16.

Each kit consists of a manual for teachers and a set of visual aids.

Sangati aims to:

Equality, sensitivity, celebration of diversity, concern for the environment, and respect for work and the dignity of labour are some of the fundamental values that are emphasized throughout the Sangati series.

The kits have been designed so that teachers find them easy to use. Each kit is divided into several sessions with step-by-step guidelines, as well as most of the materials required to conduct the session. However the kit is only a tool; it is the teacher who can bring it to life by conducting the various activities, encouraging discussions, and creating an atmosphere where children feel comfortable about expressing themselves.


The Sangati curriculum

The emphasis of Sangati is on certain specific themes and the links between them, rather than on isolated pieces of information. These themes are organized in a way that will provide a different perspective for children to understand and analyze the world around them.


KIT 1: MYSELF, MY BODY, OUR NEEDS

Knowing about MYSELF means understanding that I am unique and yet I share some thing with every other human being. It means understanding the potential and limitations of MY BODY, and realizing that regardless of our differences all human beings have the same NEEDS.

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The kit begins by getting each child to understand ‘Myself’, starting with the physical and emotional self, and explores the various influences on a child - family, school, friends, the media, and the place in which he/she lives.

Throughout these sessions, some fundamental values are underlined: namely, that every human being is a unique individual who must be respected and valued, no matter how different from us; that it is a variety of individuals living together that make up a society; that this diversity makes our society richer and is therefore worth protecting and preserving; that in spite of these differences, there are several similarities that unite all human beings.

The ‘Body’ is the most obvious part of the self. Which is why, after exploring the self, we move on to understanding different aspects of the human body - the different systems of the body, the role of the mind and emotions, the changes that take place as part of the process of growing up and the importance of taking care of the body in order to keep it in good health.

Though ‘Our needs’ is a short section, it is important because it helps children understand a simple but very important idea – that all human beings have the same basic needs, though people have different ways of fulfilling them. This variety in ways of living enriches human life. Besides since all human beings share these needs, everyone should have the right to fulfill them. Another important value emphasized is that the work of many different people helps fulfill our needs; hence human labour must be respected.

Sample Session(s): Session 5 (Family); Session 17 (Helen Keller); Session 22 (Rajaram); Session 24 (Fulfilling our needs)

KIT 2: OUR EARTH AND THE WEB OF LIFE

It is OUR EARTH that provides the resources that make it possible for us to fulfill our needs. All life on earth, including human life, has evolved in a complex and continuing process. This makes all of us part of the WEB OF LIFE.

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The 12 sessions in this kit tell the fascinating and complex story of the birth of the Earth and the evolution of life on it, in a manner that is appropriate for our young audience. We have focused only on the most crucial milestones in this story spanning more than 400 crore years.

Session 1 introduces the topic ‘Our Earth’. Themes such as how the earth came into being, mythical and scientific ideas of how life began on Earth, the evolution of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, the impact of human activity on the planet, and how the Earth has changed over centuries, are explored in the following sessions.

The sessions also unravel the complex variety of life on our planet today and the interconnections that exist between all living and non-living things, thus explaining the ‘Web of Life’. Games, stories, activities and illustrated flipcharts are used throughout the sessions in order to convey various complex concepts.

We hope that these sessions will help children to recognize and respect the wonder of life, to develop an attitude of responsibility while using the resources of the Earth and to understand that our beautiful Earth is a miracle worth preserving and protecting.

Sample Session(s): Session 1 (A story, a poem, a game)

KIT 3: HOW SOCIETIES DEVELOPED

Over thousands of years, people have learned to use the earth's resources and to live together in societies. Understanding HOW SOCIETIES DEVELOPED all over the world will help us understand our own lives better.

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In this kit, the focus shifts to the history of human society – ‘How societies have developed’ in different parts of the world to make us what we are today. This kit attempts to provide glimpses into the past, to focus on some important events and developments that have shaped the course of history, and on facts that are crucial for an understanding of our world today. Themes that are fundamental to the Sangati series – such as an appreciation of the richness and diversity of human life, the futility of war and violence and the need to work for a more egalitarian society – have been chosen deliberately.

The kit begins by talking about the need to study history and the methods used to do so and then goes on to more specific issues – for example, the way in which agriculture and settlement changed human life forever. Four sessions focus on four different aspects of life between 2000 BC and AD 1200, and highlight some significant developments in different parts of the world in this period. Sessions 8 to 10 deal with developments over the next 500 years, to show how Europe became powerful and began to establish control over the rest of the world. Sessions 11 to 14 are devoted to the Industrial Revolution and what happened thereafter, bringing the story up to the middle of the 20th century. The concluding session provides a summary of the main ideas and values explored in this kit.

In order to make the information interesting and to provide a link between sessions, three fictional characters – two young children Kabir and Saeeda and Kabir’s grandfather Nanaji – have been introduced and appear in most of the sessions. In addition to the flipcharts, many sessions also call for the use of a world map. This not only helps the class to ‘locate’ the story or event being discussed, but also develops their skills of reading and interpreting maps.

Lastly, a device called Calendar of the past is used to sum up every session. The calendar is gradually built up using the main ideas of each session, so that by the time the last session is reached, the class will know about the main developments over the last 10,000 years of human history.

Sample Session(s): Session 2 (The detective story)

KIT 4: THE WAY WE LIVE

Continuing changes in technology and different social, economic, political and cultural institutions influence THE WAY WE LIVE today.

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The fourth kit shines a spotlight on contemporary Indian society - ‘The way we live’ today. Whether we are aware of it or not, the problems of our society - from pollution to unemployment to communalism to corruption - affect all of us, including our children. In fact children are often confused by the conflicts and contradictions they see around them. The information that they have or the points of view that they get to hear may often be incomplete or one-sided. In this context, we must provide our children the opportunity to explore these issues honestly. It is only when they understand what the problems are, and cultivate the habit of looking at them critically, that they will develop the attitudes and the skills necessary to resolve them. Such a process will also make education more meaningful by bringing the realities of the outside world into the classroom.

Session 1 reiterates the idea that human beings always live in groups and that our society is in fact made up of a complex web of relationships. Sessions 2 to 18 explore different facets of our society today - institutions like the family and caste, problems such as gender inequality and communalism, the strength and weakness of our democratic institutions, the wide gaps between rich and poor that are not just persisting but also increasing, the problem of war and violence, the increasingly aggressive ideas of nationalism that threaten to tear the nation apart, the growing influence of the mass media - each of these facets is discussed in the course of one or two sessions. Session 19 concludes the kit by reinforcing the need for all of us to come together to resolve these problems and create the kind of society we want.

The topics explored in this kit are either ignored by the regular curriculum or merely referred to in passing. But for education to be relevant, we need to talk about what is happening around us, and how it is affecting our lives every day.

The issues are complex and it is impossible to include every dimension within these sessions; but it is possible to make young people aware that these problems must be faced, and that all of us as individuals can be part of the solution.

Sample Session(s): Session 16 (Patriotism: We have a dream)

KIT 5: UNDERSTANDING CHANGE

There has been a great deal of change in human society and in the relationships that human beings have developed - with one another, with other forms of life, and with the environment. It is only by UNDERSTANDING these CHANGES and their impact that we can learn to deal with them and to create the kind of society that we want.

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A recurring motif in all Sangati kits is the idea that things have kept changing – whether it is the Earth that changed from a mass of gases to a planet supporting and sustaining millions of life forms, or human society that changed from a nomadic, hunter-gatherer lifestyle to the industrialized societies of today. In fact things are changing at an even faster pace today; the theme for kit 5 is, therefore, ‘Understanding Change’.

The kit attempts to help learners understand some concepts about change - that change may be of different kinds, that one change often leads to many more, that a change we bring about may have unanticipated consequences, etc. - and explores some of the most important changes affecting the learners and the world around them at present - the changes related to growing up, changing social realities, changing attitudes today, etc. These changes are explored at three levels – at the individual or family level; changes in society; and changes in the natural environment.

Having explored these different facets of change, two sessions are devoted to the assessment of the changes that have happened in our country since Independence. The idea of progress is also introduced, leading to the question: Has India really progressed? When can we be sure that change is truly progress?

The last few sessions reinforce the message that all of us need to be aware of change and learn to deal with it positively – not just in the sense of coping with changing circumstances but also by becoming initiators of changes that will benefit everyone.

A special feature of this kit is the Kites of Change made by children as part of a craft activity. Since each session unravels a different facet of the concept of change, a card describing that aspect is added to the appropriate kite. Thus at the end of the kit a readymade visual aid for summing up the sessions is created.

Sample Session(s): Session 1 (Constant change is here to stay!);

KIT 6: PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE means building and enhancing the skills, attitudes and values that will ensure a better future for ourselves as individuals as well as for our society and our Earth.

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This, the sixth and last kit in the Sangati series attempts to provide an opportunity for children to put together all the things learnt earlier and apply them in preparing for their lives ahead. The first kit began with an attempt to discover the self. The journey then moved outward – into the distant past, from the time our earth was born, through the millions of years of evolution, and then the history of human societies and the challenges and changes in society today. With this kit, the journey comes full circle as the focus shifts once again to the self.

As the title of the kit reveals, the attempt here is to equip children with some of the most important skills for living together, for building a better future for all. Regardless of what careers they take up, this kit will help them grow up to be concerned individuals, learning to live together in harmony, being informed and making the right choices. The earlier kits talk about the past, the present and the changes that we see around us. This kit is a ‘Preparation for the future’.

The sessions in this kit deal with self-image; the need to understand oneself, to develop a positive self-image, to discover one’s talents and potential, to explore and develop a set of values that define one’s personality. Certain skills are also taken up for discussion. These skills include communication, dealing with conflict, problem solving, thinking creatively, being able to proactively plan for the future and developing a strategy to achieve one’s goals.

A special feature of this kit is the personal diary. Some activities in the kit have been created especially for entry into the diary so that children get used to the concept and use this device for introspection; that it also helps them improve their writing skills, is an added bonus!

Sample Session(s): Session 15 (Getting there);


IMPLEMENTATION

In the beginning of each academic year, training workshops are organized by the Avehi Abacus Project to orient the school teachers to Sangati. This is followed by distribution of kits and children’s material in schools. Depending on the school’s preference and medium, the Teacher’s Manuals are available in Hindi or Marathi, while the Children’s Material is available in Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, English, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu. A Teacher’s Manual in English has also been developed recently. Sangati sessions are conducted by the teachers twice a week for one clock hour. Field Representatives visit schools regularly to understand the feedback/response from students and teachers and provide inputs to make the sessions more effective; worksheets filled by students are also overseen by them. The Sangati process is also documented and serves as a rich source of understanding teaching-learning processes in classrooms, changes in children, teachers and officials.

In order to ensure smooth integration, better monitoring and sustained use of Sangati, the Avehi Abacus Project has been involved in working closely with teachers and Supervisory Officials of Mumbai Municipal Corporation since they perform the key roles of administration and monitoring of the programme.


SELLING AND PROCUREMENTS OF THE SANGATI KITS

The six Sangati kits are available for use by individuals / schools / organizations working with children between the ages of 9 to 14 years. Please contact us for further details.

AVEHI ABACUS PROJECT
Third Floor, K.K. Marg Municipal School,
Saat Rasta, Mahalaxmi,
Mumbai 400 011

+91-22-23075231
+91-22-23052790

info@avehiabacus.org