Meghalaya hosts 1st ever ‘Play to Learn Summit’

Social Welfare Minister stresses on optimizing maximum potential of Meghalaya’s children for achieving State’s Vision

The first-ever ‘Play to Learn’ Summit was successfully organized in Shillong on the 5th of September, 2023, highlighting the crucial role of play in young children’s overall development. The Summit was presented by the Government of Meghalaya, Meghalaya Early Childhood Development Mission (MECDM), Meghalaya Health Systems Strengthening Project (MHSSP), State Capability Enhancement Project (SCEP) in collaboration with Sesame Workshop India Trust funded by SBI Foundation, along with the Indian Institute of Banking & Finance. 

Speaking as the Guest of Honour at the occasion, Meghalaya Social Welfare Minister Paul Lyngdoh said, “Our kids today face a unique set of challenges that are different from the ones that the kids in the previous generation faced. It is our endeavour to be able to take initiatives aimed at optimizing the potential of our children. For this, we need to keep re-envisioning where we want to see Meghalaya in the next 50 years”. He also lauded Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, and the Principal Secretary and CEO of Meghalaya Early Childhood Development Mission, Sampath Kumar, IAS, for initiating visionary reforms and implementing a mission of this calibre.

Meghalaya’s Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma also virtually addressed the audience at the summit. In his virtual video, he congratulated all the departments and stakeholders for hosting Meghalaya’s first-ever Play to Learn Summit.

Meghalaya’s Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma virtually addressed the audience at the summit.

He emphasized the importance of play-based and activity-based learning and added that the State Government is aiming to promote this through the Summit. 

Emphasizing on the importance of the play to Learn Summit as an integral part of the Meghalaya Early Childhood Development mission (MECDM), Principal Secretary & Development Commissioner- Social Welfare Department & CEO-MECDM, Sampath Kumar, IAS, said that we can achieve our economic potential if every child of this state has the opportunity to flourish physically, mentally, socially, and to receive the support needed for a strong education, and meaningful employment.

The summit also witnessed a story telling session in Khasi by a local YouTuber ‘Code Freeman’ aka Ferdinand Ranee. The closing address at the summit was given by Ronald Kynta, COO, MECDM. Play based learning at the booths were also underway by the DERT, Education Department, Meghalaya ECD Mission, State Resource Center on Disability Affairs, Shillong. Another booth demonstrated an Anganwadi Classroom Setting, in which an Anganwadi worker created a mock classroom including some materials from Sesame, while another booth showed a home-based ECD Setting showcasing a Parental engagement corner with home-based learning and a Sesame Workshop India Play Zone. 

The summit concluded with a performance by a local music band Retrosage & Rikkame & the Band, as well as another vote of thanks by Ms. Rajshri Sen, Director, Sesame Workshop India. A highlight of the summit was ‘Chamki’ – a puppet who interacted with all the children present at the event. . 

Since its launch, the ECD Mission has carried out “block conventions” in 10 blocks of the state, to sensitize community leaders and front-line workers, as well as government functionaries, about the importance of early childhood development, and to invite the full ownership and engagement of communities in rolling out ECD Mission. A unique component of these conventions has been the participation of multiple departments, highlighting the cross-sector nature of ECD and the importance of joint action to achieve the goals of the mission. A further unique component of the mission is the focus on community leadership and participation. The Mission recognises that success will depend upon a true sense of ownership by communities, from leadership to the household level.