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Using Play to Better our World

place India + 1 more

For every child to achieve their full potential.

Many children in India lack access to safe and stimulating play opportunities, hindering their development. Research shows that lack of playfulness and joyfulness in childhood ecosystems, disrupts developmental milestones for children and risks maladjusted adulthood. The Opentree Foundation is committed to building critical life skills in at-risk children through our Conscious Play™ approach.



HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.

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Target group
Students basic
May 2024
34% of India’s population is the youth, most of whom are deprived of life-skills focused education, leading to difficult adulthoods. We want to ensure that playfulness and joyfulness guide the design and implementation of powerful practices we use in early childhood education and ensure that play forms an integral part of policy design, pedagogical practices and society at large.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

At 21, I began volunteering at a home for at-risk children. I soon realized how disinterested the kids were in learning. I became curious & started to observe them. They hardly played. I noticed how the lack of play was building up the frustration and angst in these kids. Play enables children to grow as human beings who are emotionally stable and intellectually better equipped to solve problems.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

The Opentree Foundation uses play to educate and empower at-risk children, addressing poor learning outcomes and lack of essential life skills. Started by simply distributing ethically good games to children, we now run our Play programs across Maharashtra, impacting 77,054 children everyday. Our partnerships team facilitates expansion, while continuous research ensures contextually relevant play materials and engaging play sessions. Our Outreach Play Workers deliver engaging sessions focused on building essential life skills such as Critical Thinking, Communication, Problem Solving, Resilience and Decision-making. We conduct transformative power of play training for the government and low-income private school teachers and caretakers from community organizations to enable them to become skilled Play Practitioners and use it to address students’ developmental needs in their everyday classroom teaching thus impacting the teacher-student bonding, creating safe learning spaces for all.

How has it been spreading?

Our work has been spreading through amazing partnerships and collaborations with the government and nonprofits across the state of Maharashtra.
We provide them with our programs, play materials and the entire know-how of Play, while the partners provide us with their infrastructure and space to set up our play centers. Our foundation is providing these programs and training to the children and teachers entirely for free. We sign clear MOUs with all our partners and renew them on a yearly-basis. These MOUs spell out the deliverables for each of us, thus ensuring that our play programs get delivered diligently.
The idea for us is to build a strong mindset change first about Play and its deep relevance, within this spectrum and eventually push for policy change at the government-level.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

We welcome potential partners to have access to our play programs. After a thorough assessment, partners receive an orientation and access to our play-based curriculum and session plans focused on Life Skills. We provide curated play materials with regular replenishment. Volunteer participation is open after background checks and facilitation training. Our work updates can be seen on our website.

Implementation steps

Start your Playful journey with The Opentree Foundation
1. Fill out our pre-assessment and situational analysis forms
2. Sign an MoU with us & become our play-partner
3. Receive our coded games; provide a dedicated space for play in your premise
4. Come in full attendance for our transformative Power of Play Workshops
5. Set an everyday 1-hour play-schedule in the school time-table
6. Support our Outreach Play Workers (OPWs) when they facilitate the play sessions
7. Fill out the log form provided by us post every session & provide regular feedback

Spread of the innovation

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