Most of us agree that beginnings have a lasting impact on the process as well as the outcome of any activity. While choosing a school for a toddler in the pre-primary years, decisions are often made on misplaced objectives. One of the most conveniently repeated statements is: ‘Arre bhai is umar mein kya pharak padta hai?’ Do beginnings lose meaning when it comes to our child’s education?
The first five to seven years of human life are known to be the most critical in terms of growth. The physical, mental as well as the socio-emotional development of a human child is at its peak in the pre-primary years. Nature bestows each child with the urge to explore, learn and grow. What is often neglected as aimless ‘play’ is one of the most serious developmental activities a toddler undertakes in the continuous striving for self-growth. As various developmental milestones are achieved, sensory-motor coordination and various other skills are acquired the natural way. Any development that is forced upon the toddler before its natural time, potentially disturbs nature’s harmonious design. In the negatively competitive environment around us, pincer grip is often forced upon a toddler too early. Such disturbances in the natural growing process of a toddler have a lifelong negative impact. Parents and schools alike, appear to be oblivious of it! Obviously, the rat-race is limited to the overtly evident facts.
Progressive schools that follow well-researched pedagogical practices understand the natural developmental milestones of a toddler’s magical years. The numberless variations in each child’s development style need to be harmoniously incorporated into the learning process adopted by the school. Numbers need to be rote-learnt but a child also needs to imbibe the skill of counting. The alphabet needs to be recognized and so do each letter’s varied phonetic connections. The development of pre-number and pre-writing skills builds a strong foundation for the acquisition of further learning far more comprehensively than pure numbers and writing abilities. In progressive schools, these are intricately blended into the naturally evolved ‘play’ learning method of the child.
Let our little ones live free from the burden of our choices and expectations, from the segregating flawed logic of competition, from the curbing fear of authority…. Let them be free to choose, learn, imbibe, explore, express… and free to trust and believe in themselves.