Forty years back, the correct age for sending children to school was five years. Twenty years ago, three years was the correct age. Now, children as young as two years start attending pre-schools and play schools. How does this influence a child’s growth?
At the completion of two years, children can gradually observe and understand how the world works. Every child has his own way of observing and exploring the world. Some children are fast at understanding, while some take a longer time. However, these are best learnt by silent observation at the child’s own pace.
Increasingly, children start preschool between two and three years. . The reason for this is the academic competition prevalent in India, nuclear families with working parents, and the social pressure to do what every one else does. In this context, here is an analysis on what kind of play schools are out there. How do they affect child development? Here are a few thoughts….
Routines and Schedules:
Not all two / three year old kids can adapt a routine. For active and curious kids, a routine may end up frustrating. If your kid does not show interest in adapting to a scheduled life style, skip preschools that emphasize on getting kids follow a routine.
Many schools hold races, fancy dress, oratory competitions as a means of entertaining parents and children. Think twice while choosing a school that holds many competitions. The concept of memorizing, winning, etc might be over whelming and unnecessary at three years of age.
Open play spaces:
Toddlers need to experience a lot of textures, sounds, shapes, etc. This is best done by letting them play outdoors. The variety of colours, sounds, shapes, objects that nature provides are the best teaching and growth aids for children. Preschools that offer safe open spaces are a definite advantage to your child’s growth.
Image source: http://www.naturegrounds.org/
Some preschools and international schools provide snacks and food. If opting for schools that provide food, due attention is needed for the menu and food. Ensure the menu provides a multi-grain nutritious food. It is best to go in for schools that offer specialty cooked food rather than outsourced food cooked in huge quantities.
Not all toddlers are properly potty trained by the age of two or three years. ISome school that looks down on toddlers who cannot wash themselves. Some schools even call up parents to complain or scold kids who are not potty trained. This have a negative impact on your child’s psychological growth. In addition, your kid will have an awful day at school if she has to spend 4 or 6 hours smelling bad in soiled clothes. It will be a good decision to avoid such schools. Give preference to schools that have motherly care takers who can wash and tend to your kids.
Montessori preschools offer kids a variety of learning tools and play things. The child is free to select the activity that she is interested in. Montessori preschools let the child discover her own observations. They do not involve direct teaching or instructor led teaching. Montessori schools are a good option for parents who give more priority to their child’s overall development (psychological, behavioral, social, etc) over academic development.
Waldorf education model for preschools offers group activities, home like environment, focus on extra curricular activities like coloring, reciting, playing with building blocks, modelling clay, etc. Waldorf system is widely believed to be suitable for children who like rhythmic repetition, and order.
There are a whole range of schools affiliated to various religions and spiritual trusts. These schools offer the usual classroom education, along with teaching aids and curriculum influenced by the teachings of a particular religion or spiritual guru.
A few of these institutions focus on discipline. Strict schedules, punishments, verbal admonishes are things to be aware of when selecting schools that focus on making the child learn discipline. Select religious schools that nurture the child’s innocence and teach them values in a child friendly manner.
Instead of exploring and understanding the world, many two year old children spend time in closed classrooms, eat out of snack boxes, memorize rhymes and action songs, have teachers teaching them, etc. When this happens, we need to ensure these class rooms help in the child’s overall development.
A healthy body and happy mind are essential for a good childhood. Let us ensure every child has access to a healthy, free and happy childhood.