IntroductionChildren are pure joy. Their laughter, their innocence and the unconditional love that they share is precious. “My observation as an Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) professional has been that in the initial two years of the child we observe the child, we are so awed by the child’s smile, the first steps, first words, but slowly we start conditioning the child our way”. Says, Dr. Ritu Dak Principal Vidhyashram Public School Bani Park Jaipur. Here is an article by Dr. Ritu, about everything one should know around nurturing the future generation. Dr. Ritu is a passionate preschool professional for more than three decades. Let’s acquire the essence from her learnings, through this beautifully elucidated blog.
It is righty said that the parents are the first teachers. However, have we ever wondered, the child who was asking the why and how and what of everything stopped questioning?
In their super imaginative minds with rockets, planets, monsters, underwater living everything possible. The curious eyes keep asking a never-ending series of questions. The sensitive heart, needs no words, just your touch and looks will be so well understood. Intelligent enough to learn to walk, talk, and understand you and listen to your stories with deep concentration. The joy of splashing the water in the bathtub is far superior than playing with the latest educational toys! We are not being honest in providing the genuine happiness, the freedom, the respect, and the concern for helping the child discover, oneself and the world.
“I sometimes sit and ponder on what happens in the first few growing up years when the young parents are trying their best to give their child the best training that the powers of imagination, curiosity, sheer joy and delight starts to fall. At this point I tell the parents and the early childhood teachers to Stop, Observe and just be the Guide”. Explains Ritu.
The Mistaken Ideologies
1) We assume that what we are doing is the best.
2) We are in a hurry for the child to learn everything at a supersonic speed.
3) We go by the prevailing fashion and marketed theories and philosophies.
So, how do we go about it?1) Understand the child, not just the physical or developmental tasks but a little beyond this.
2) Understand how does a child learn
3) Learning comes by self-discovery. Help the child reach that point. Be a guide.
4) Happiness, self-esteem, respect, confidence, expression, teamwork are the foundation stones of a balanced personality.
5) preschool learning should finish where it begins today.
6) Help the child know thyself.
Which curriculum provides all this?
The answer to this is simple. But the problem is anything that is simple, without frills, doesn’t appeal to most of the young parents, for they are looking for some glass house where everything that the child desires for is served, looks colourful ! But will these children be able to break the glass ceiling?
Which parenting technique is to be used?
Simple is caring for the child to grow in a natural environment. Parents should, provide unconditional love, freedom and provide guidance and help as and when required. The child grows at its own pace, strong, reaching for the sky.
As a child development student and faculty, I had been focusing on the five developmental areas of a preschool child.
1) Gross motor 2) Fine motor 3) Conceptual 4) Language 5) Emotional social development.
We would follow the thematic approach of introducing the world to the child. Play way technique. activity based approach all felt just perfect with the NCERT’s developmental assessment checklist as an evaluation guide. Sports, Art, Dance, Music, Theatre were a part of the extra-curricular activities and were mainly used for festival celebrations and Annual day celebrations. But this still felt incomplete.
Is Creative Drama a powerful learning aid!
Creative drama expert would work with kids and it would always be like an introvert kid or an academically weak student or a hyperactive (as wrongly understood) or a child with less concentration would always get an important role to play at the end of the session and the change after the fortnight’s workshop would always be immense.
I was a silent observer to this for 5-7 years. It is then I took this as my research study to understand the magic happening here. I did a lot of case studies. It had helped one and all. The quietest in the class could be loud and bold on the stage, the autistic child who was shy and withdrawn in the class would participate wholeheartedly in storytelling, the super energetic ones were ready to work in teams. The child who was unable to write his alphabet for the last two years was now ready to learn anything. Not just this, the conditioned students or the disciplined ones had now felt the freedom, children could imagine and express, and bloomed developing their senses, motor capacities, stretching their imagination, believing in the moment.
Earlier the sensorial, perceptual motor development was well taken care of by the family, children had people around to play with things around in nature. Jumping from wheat bags, running without shoes in any kind of temperatures, helping elders, working at home, had a source of unconditional love from grandparents, ate what was cooked at home, there was freedom and learning was discovering. A lot has changed now. So, shouldn’t our approach to the preschool education change?
We need a revolutionary/ total change in the system. A shift not only from content and methodology but to the receiver. Is the child ready? We need a pedagogy where we prepare the child. This new curriculum draws heavily from Creative Drama as it is then the child uses not only the brain but also ones heart and body to assimilate the information.
Do continue reading the Part 2 of this article to have in depth analysis of how creative drama can be introduced in the curriculum!
Dr. Ritu Dak is Principal Vidhyashram Public School Bani Park Jaipur. Firmly believes in providing a safe and secure space to children to blossom. Tendering with love and care she helps children to connect with the world with all the goodness and infinite capabilities within their own selves. An ardent traveler who strongly believes that travel is learning.
Dr Ritu can be reached at :-
Email :- firstname.lastname@example.org