With so many pre-schools popping up around town, each one sounding more promising than the first, what exactly does one keep in mind when making a choice?
Every parent wants the child’s formative years to be spent at an institution that stresses on a solid foundation, attention to detail, and rich in resources to engage the child’s mind and imagination.
A tremendous amount of care and nurturing goes into physical, mental and cognitive teaching methodology that caters to the all-round growth and development of children. It is thus important to choose the right curriculum for your child.
A comprehensive program takes a developmental approach to learning. All teachers must have an early childhood undergraduate or graduate degree and Montessori certification. The Montessori approach emphasizes nature, creativity, and hands-on learning, with gentle guidance provided by the teachers. The goal of the Montessori method is to develop a child’s senses, character, practical life skills, and academic ability. If your child is accustomed to a more rigorous schedule or guided learning, this may not be the right fit for him.
IB or International Baccalaureate program
The IB inspired pre-school curriculum sets the foundation for the IB Primary Years Program (PYP). PYP focuses on general knowledge and day to day challenges in life, combined with the application of sound practice in classroom sessions supported by appropriate methods of assignment. The PYP curriculum is relevant and challenging for 3-12 year olds. The syllabus is usually trans-disciplinary, as well as inter-disciplinary. The preparation starts at the pre-school level itself. IB encourages flexibility in teaching methods and also has provisions to include international content that responds to local requirements and interests.
Socio-cultural and interactive skills are also a significant part of the syllabus. This learning process takes place through play, conversation and interactive activities. Parents are also actively involved in the implementation, and they constitute an important part of the child’s education. International preschools in India adopt the IB based curriculum, which prepares kids for the next level of school, that leads to the affiliation of the IB program.
PLAY WAY METHOD
The curriculum is motivating, with patriotic events, annual day celebrations, festive days, all pre-planned in the expressive calendar, and diligently followed by schools. Recognition of shapes and colours, as well as including selective rhymes and poems is also a part of the curriculum. Helping children with their activities, several play way methods are also used to add focus to their interest. Sand play, water play, as well as puzzles or special field trips are organized to develop their self-esteem and improve their team spirit.
RHYME AND REASON
Rhyme and Reason uses a theme centric approach. The curriculum is broken into 11 themes, and each theme is expanded into a Unit that incorporates all the areas of learning. A unit typically takes 2-4 weeks to complete. Every unit integrates various concepts and skills based on the 6 Areas of learning, providing daily lesson ideas with interesting worksheets, film clips and other resources for teachers to use, with equal elements of art and craft, songs, hands-on activities, and concepts. The curriculum introduces learning in a playful, happy and meaningful manner – a sound basis for success later in their school life.
Other Things to keep in Mind
At the Pre-school stage, the child’s cognitive growth is tremendous. Children are anxious about their surroundings, and there are many new things that take them to the development stage. Emotions run high as they are suddenly adjusting to a new routine.
Hence, the right choice of curriculum goes a long way in making them feel confident and encourages interaction with the subject matter. Look for how the school has divided cultural days and traditional festivals, to make them interesting for children. With the richness of Indian culture, the scope for making these days special for kids is huge.
A lesson plan can ideally prove to be helpful at the pre-school curriculum and will give it a lot of focus. A structured curriculum can also include weekly observance of interesting concepts, as per the lesson plan for the month. This can be a cooking fete or playing outdoors. Based on the same, numbers and colors can be taught. It is very important to let children take their own time to learn things, and hence a very rigid time frame is not ideal. All children love the idea of participation. Hence, the idea of a group scenario must be created via games or learning, so that children understand the importance of team spirit.
Apart from the academic assessments, you must trust your instincts. An environment of love and acceptance goes a long way, given that it’s the first time away from home for the child. Also, notice the response of the school and the teachers. Do they seem interested in getting to know your child? Do the activities involve things your child enjoys? By watching how your child reacts, you’ll have a better idea of how good a fit the pre-school is.