Moving Towards ‘Wholistic Education’- Trends In The Early Education System
In a country with over 165 million children in the age group of 0-6 years, only a meager 1% of them are enrolled in the Pre-School program. Very often, parents are happy and comfortable sending their child to the nearest pre-school or the most popular pre-school in the vicinity.
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Each time you take a newspaper in your hand while sipping through your early morning cup of tea, scanning through thousands of school advertisement it would make you muzzy and leave you baffled at the speed at which the number of schools has multiplied even in your neighborhood. Well, this is no unknown feeling for many young parents who are already going through an arduous process of screening out a good school for their toddler who will soon set his/her foot outside the home.
In a country with over 165 million children in the age group of 0-6 years, only a meager 1% of them are enrolled in the Pre-School program. Very often, parents are happy and comfortable sending their child to the nearest pre-school or the most popular pre-school in the vicinity. There is a popular notion that the children go to an early childhood center just to play and socialize and the curriculum needs are at best very basic and static.
However, research has proven how critical and important the first five years are to a child’s lifetime of learning. The maximum learning takes place in these years and the environment to which the child is exposed to makes a long-lasting impact on the child.
These young minds, in the true sense, are a real investment for any nation which will give impetus to the growth in dynamic times ahead.
The current trend in the education sector has to mold itself to become multifaceted and fast paced to help build the countries future assets and its foundation. The education system will have to gradually revamp itself from traditional methods that focus on scoring marks to the knowledge that is integrated with new age tools & technologies keeping pace with the grasping ability of the students. Early childhood education should aim at being multidisciplinary - make learning interactive, encouraging newer ideas and boost imagination and creativity.
The idea is to gather an in-depth understanding of the subject vis-à-vis skill development. This will further result in developing leadership skills, ethics, confidence building, team-work, positive attitude and more; in short, the skills a child would need growing up to cope with the 21st-century challenges.
The Pre-schools being the bedrock of a child’s learning has to employ techniques which captivate and keeps a toddler genuinely interested in learning new things each day, so that this attitude grows with their age. A right balance of age-appropriate learning and simulation for every child is a must as the cognitive needs of every child is different from that of their peers.
The most critical element that will hold this transition together is the educators, whose role will evolve from being a teacher to a mentor, to a friend. This transition will require a highly skilled workforce capable of nurturing young minds right from the primary school stage.
The school’s need to put a lot of emphasis on the human element when teaching the kids at Pre-school as it is their first real step out of their homes into a new world. The staff and faculty should thus be thoroughly trained to provide them with a comfortable environment by making them feel secure.
What is also imperative is that the segment needs a backing from a pool of experts or rather attract talent from diverse sectors so that the segment could benefit from their experience and expertise. The field of pre-school education would thus benefit from their efforts in understanding the needs of young children by refining the delivery of curriculum, to make it new-age and engaging. Furthermore, the continuous upgrading of the curriculum to meet the requirement of changing trends will enable us to understand how crucial education is for enhancing one's personality.
The awareness towards early education- beginning with pre-schools, is fast catching up in Tier II and Tier III cities and towns which were relatively aloof from the belief that it can be a solid foundation for a child.
Education sector in India, is poised for growth as an industry which is witnessing a lot of interest in terms of, investments from private players, collaborations with foreign educational institutions, assimilating international curriculum in their schools and offering abundant opportunities to students with regards to choosing their curriculum along with interaction opportunities with their global peers. We need greater emphasis and status for early childhood education in our country which is severely lacking. We need to build high-quality teacher training institutions which will provide trained personnel for this segment. We also need an enabling regulatory environment which will encourage many purpose-driven talented entrepreneurs to enter both the early childhood and K-12 segment in India thereby contributing meaningfully to Nation Building!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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