Pragat Shikshan Sanstha (PSS) started as a literacy class for the out of school children in a slum of Phaltan town where the population belongs to the Scheduled castes and Nomadic tribes. The education endeavor that began through the inspiration of one young woman of American origin has grown to include a multifaceted educational programme addressing various educational problems. It includes a programme for the children, youth and women of the same slum area where it first started, a full time Marathi medium school, an Early Childhood Education programme, classroom based pedagogical research and an outreach language and science programme for government schools.
The strength of PSS lies in nurturing children through 13 years of schooling with exposure to nature and environment, books and art to develop them as caring youth having a firm belief in the values of the constitution.
In 1990, the founder of PSS Dr. Maxine Berntsen carried out a survey of reading-writing proficiency among the third standard students of Zilla Parishad, municipal and private schools. She was dismayed with the results and wrote a report called Collapse at the Foundation. Following this report Dr. Berntsen offered to help the government schools with a method evolved by her and tried and tested kamala Nimbkar Balbhavan for teaching reading and writing to first standard children. It is called the Pragat Vachan Paddhati and has shown the same good results in the Zilla Parishad schools.