Called Haadu Maataadu, the programme uses simple poetry to disseminate values-based learning to pre-schoolers in rural Karnataka

Called Haadu Maataadu, the programme uses simple poetry to disseminate values-based learning to pre-schoolers in rural Karnataka

Akashvani Bengaluru, which is part of All India Radio (AIR), recently aired 11 nursery rhymes in Kannada. They were was part of Haadu Maataadu, a programme for pre-school anganwadi children in Karnataka, and the response has been encouraging.

There are 65,000 anganwadis in Karnataka, with around 16 lakh children. “We thought Kannada rhymes would be a good way to introduce the pre-schoolers to learning,” says N Raghu, assistant director — programmes, Akashvani. Raghu scripted and presented the programme that was aired across AIR’s various radio stations. “We thought a child’s first exposure to learning could be melodious and in a language that they are familiar with,” he adds.

AIR Bengaluru’s programme executive, SR Bhat, inspired the process, Raghu notes. “I got hold of an old book of Kannada rhymes that we had brought out long ago. It had 120 rhymes, and none of them were being taught in schools. The rhymes were simple and spoke of everyday things. They were meaningful and with positive aspects that would make tiny tots think and learn,” Bhat remarks.

Akashvani, Bengaluru, presents nursery rhymes in Kannada

The show’s format was designed to keep young children engaged with sing-alongs, so that they can act and dance while reciting. Raghu brought in composer Praveen D Rao to score the music considering his previous work in similar projects. “I took about a week to set the 11 rhymes to music,” says Praveen, “I enjoyed doing this. Helping children on their initial path of learning with music makes it easy and friendly.”

Bhat says he is happy that the programme has reached its targeted rural Karnataka audience, most of whom, he adds, can only afford radios.