By Anupa Gnanakan
I was 18 years old when my friend and I were given an opportunity to take the ‘Beginners’
class at a church summer camp. It was a 10 day camp where we had to team teach a group
of very young children, plan activities, and work towards a final day performance for their
parents. The experience was seamless, fun and exciting, and the feedback that we got was
life changing. Life changing because everyone was amazed at how at ease we were with
this age group, and how well we did. This was when I decided that I wanted to be an early
years teacher, not because of the feedback that we got but because I absolutely loved the
I went on to do a Montessori training course, and absolutely loved working and growing in a
Montessori environment. My journey has taken me from international schools to low income
private schools, through teaching special education and into a leadership role. And all the
while, my heart has been with the early years.
I came across the Cross Borders Leadership Fellowship on LinkedIn, and my passion to
learn and grow continuously is why I immediately applied for the fellowship. I was eager to
interact with and learn from experts in ECE across the globe.
I am not from a Teach for India background nor have I worked with NGOs that do specific
work with ECE, and I have always been amazed and envious at how much people with
these backgrounds know and do.
The CBL Fellowship introduced me to many such admirable people doing such inspirational
things in the field. I have gained so much from the Lit Hub that I was a part of. I learned
about the importance of data and how it can be used to improve the teaching and learning
process from Rajat and Shruti, I learned about developmental milestones in ECE from
Larissa, I had the pleasure of interacting with Dimple who spoke about the role of parents in
ECE, and really enjoyed understanding about Child Protection and Safety from Patience.
As the CBL Fellowship comes to an end, my dream of creating a reading programme for K-2
has become a reality. From helping teachers understand the importance of building
foundational skills, the implementation of a baseline assessment to help plan, to planning
each step of the reading programme, I have gained a lot from CBL. I am grateful for this
opportunity and hope my association with this global community of ECE educators