Aarti: Pratham’s Learning Camp Helps Grade 4 Student Catch Up

Grade 4 student shows remarkable improvement in her reading and maths skills

Aarti, a Grade 4 student from the Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, faced significant challenges in her educational journey. She lives with her father, Raju, a farmer; her mother, a homemaker; and her younger sister, Gudiya, who is in Grade 3. With another sibling on the way, her mother was not in the best of health and relied heavily on Aarti for household chores, often causing her to miss school.

When Pratham’s thirty days learning camp started in October 2023 at Aarti’s school, her attendance was sporadic. The school teacher confirmed her frequent absences, raising concerns about her academic progress. A Pratham team member visited Aarti’s home and discovered that her absences were due to her need to help with household responsibilities, especially as her mother was expecting another child and was not well.

During the home visit, the Pratham team member assessed Aarti's learning level in front of her parents. It became evident that Aarti struggled with reading and basic math. Her parents were initially skeptical about the value of regular school attendance, believing she wasn’t learning much anyway. However, after learning about Pratham’s engaging and effective methodologies, they were persuaded to send Aarti to school daily.

Aarti began attending the learning camp, a short, intensive teaching-learning initiative conducted by Pratham staff with support from the school and community to help children catch up and improve their learning levels. Children are grouped by learning ability rather than grade, using tailored methods and materials for rapid, impactful progress. Aarti became engaged with the interactive and enjoyable learning activities in the camp. She particularly enjoyed listening to stories and participating in warm-up exercises, which sparked her interest in learning.

Despite her initial enthusiasm, Aarti's mother once again started keeping her at home to help with chores. Another visit by a Pratham team member highlighted Aarti's noticeable progress — she was starting to read, albeit with some difficulty. Witnessing her daughter's improvement, Aarti's mother was convinced to allow her to attend the camp daily.

With Pratham's support, Aarti progressed remarkably. She started managing her household responsibilities in the morning, ensuring support to her mother before attending the learning camp. Her confidence soared as her reading and math skills improved. By the end of the camp, Aarti could read stories and solve basic addition problems. She even joined the community children’s club, where she participated in daily learning activities.

Aarti's happiness was palpable as she shared her newfound skills. She took pride in being able to read and understand her lessons and was excited to share stories with her younger sister and her newborn brother. Her mother expressed her gratitude, saying, “We used to think there was no point in sending her to school if she couldn’t read or understand what was being taught, but now we have realised that regular attendance at school can help. The learning camp has taught her to read.”

Aarti's journey is a testament to the impact of Pratham’s learning camps. Her story highlights the importance of regular attendance and the right learning support.