To introduce preschool children to a program which teaches them to cope with everyday difficulties, identify and talk about their feelings, and explore ways of dealing with them.
To train and assist teachers to facilitate the program in schools.
To integrate emotional development of children with language development.
Zippy’s friends is a program developed by Partnership for Children, UK and adopted in Goa. It is run by specially trained teachers, in schools and pre-schools. The program lasts about 24 weeks and is built around a set of stories about a stick insect called Zippy and a group of children. The stories show friends confronting issues that are familiar to young children- friendship, communication, feeling lonely, bullying, dealing with change and loss, and making a new start. The story is illustrated by a set of brightly coloured pictures and supported by activities that allow children to explore different ways of coping.
Zippy’s friends is already running in schools in Denmark, Lithuania, Brazil, UK, Hong Kong; our work in Goa is the first time it has been used in India.
The program was initiated in Goa in English language schools. In the academic year 2004-2005, the Konkani version of Zippy’s friends was introduced in 6 schools. A total number of 290 children participated in the program in those years. In the same period, three schools continued the program in English and 111 children experienced the program.
In the academic year 2005-2006 more than thousand children were introduced to the program. From our 3 years of experience we have learnt a number of lessons and now aim to strengthen the program in the existing schools, introduce the program in selected new schools, evaluate the usefulness of the program, and explore possibilities of taking the program outside the state.