“I like coming here and playing with the sound walls, but the swings are my favourite! I also like to touch the plant leaves and smell the flowers with my friends.”
Rambabu, five years old
Child Junction’s central location in the village ensures accessibility to all local children. The dedicated book kiosk promotes reading and creativity, while a sound wall, tactile wall and net climber promotes active play, helping children refine their motor skills. To safeguard the space, a Children’s Parliament has been formed comprising child ministers. These young leaders manage various committees, such as the irrigation committee, book kiosk, sports, health and hygiene committees, ensuring the well-being of everyone at Child Junction.
“When we ask the other kids if they want to listen to a story, they gather and listen to us. I love reading the stories and go to call my friends to come play at the junction and have meetings among ourselves to discuss different types of activities we will do as a group,” says Anshika Singh, the education minister of the Children’s Parliament. Anshika ensures the safekeeping of the books at the kiosk.
Here, she plays with the sound wall, which exposes children to different types of sounds and stimulates the development of their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and sensory integration, all of which are important for cognitive development. Different types of sounds also promote creative thinking and storytelling skills.
For the older children, Child Junction is a safe and holistic space to continue their learning after school whilst their parents are still working. It offers a vibrant tapestry of sensory experiences. From a sound wall to an aromatic garden, and engaging activities like the abacus, children are encouraged to explore together and think critically.
The abacus enhances sensory development in children by providing tactile stimulation, improving hand-eye coordination, and incorporating auditory cues. It not only fosters early math skills but also enhances concentration and problem-solving abilities while engaging the senses.
Child Junction has a community book kiosk that provides children with a range of picture and story books. There are over 250 books available at the kiosk for the children to choose from. Younger children often select pictures books, but the older children help out by reading stories to them.
There are various apparatus throughout the space where children can play, strengthen their muscles and practice balancing. Here, a young girl jumps and plays on a wooden pathway, whilst another clambers up the rope climber.
To create a visually appealing and textured walkway, a stone pathway has been built using different sizes of stones. This design offers a rich sensory experience which the children enjoy walking and playing on.
To engage children in creative activities and stimulate their thinking, a dedicated painting area has been set up. Here, children can express their ideas, thoughts and dreams.
Saiyad Karar Husain, Programme Manager at AKF says, “Every evening, you will find them here playing with each other. It’s amazing to see them building companionship. You will see children engaging in creative activities, exploring different textures, fragrances, and sounds catering to different aspects of physical, social, language and cognitive development. They have even taken the responsibility to look after their beloved junction by establishing a child minister council! With the success that we have seen here, we are planning to establish similar spaces in neighbouring villages.”
“[The children] have even taken the responsibility to look after their beloved junction by establishing a child minister council!”
Saiyad Karar Husain, Programme Manager, AKF
Child Junction is made possible with support from HDFC Bank and AKF’s Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP) in India. As an initial pilot initiative in Baniyani village, Child Junction has demonstrated remarkable success and has become highly popular among the children. As part of HRDP, AKF intends to establish at least 10 additional spaces like this in nearby villages.
Words by Seemab Alam, Communications Officer, AKF India
Photos by Tariq Khan