This is Not the Way to Teach!
“This is not the way to teach, This is not the
way to teach”
Their tender fingers not yet ready
To grip a Pencil so slender and light
They may draw but do not write
Should they sit quite on their tender backbones
Their minds not meant to be filled, but to be opened
Years back Froebel said it, Montessori said it,
Torch bearers of Early Learning still crying for a change
Who's to blame, the parents or the teachers?
Or the Pre-Schools?
The Early Child Care and Education (ECCE) is still crying for reform in India. Parents want their tiny children to muster the alphabets beforetheyreach the age of 5, before they seek admission to some reputed schools. To read,write may be in more than one language and answer questions for interview for an entry to the world of primary school-What is your name? What is your age?
A policy document of Ministry of Women and Child Development on ECCE in 2013 said a major deterrent to ensuring the right kind of ECCE is the lack of understanding of developmentally appropriate ECCE among the parents and other stake holders and the widespread belief that child is the responsibility of only the mother.
"Most of the ECCE programs on offer currently do not have developmentally appropriate programs for the young child. The vacuum created by a lack of curriculum framework has resulted in its being filled with either a minimalist program or the downward extension of the primary stage curriculum leading to overburdening the child which can have a negative impact on the child’s learning potential. " (National ECCE Curriculum Framework Report of Ministry of Women and Child Development)
Early learning is not about learning alphabets, numbers or rhymes. It is more about acquiring life skills. When teaching the rhyme:
IncyWincy spider went up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
So, IncyWincy spider went up the water spout again
Here the KG teacher is not just teaching a nursery rhyme by repeatedly singing it but makes the child understand an important lesson of life: Each one need to face difficulties and overcome them as we grow up!
One may ask if there is any relevance to pre-school learning or is it just an escape route for parents to put their mischievous, troublesome growing kids away from home for some time? Does it make any difference in the life of a growing child? In fact, one rarely remember anything s/he has learnt at a pre-school! Should we take pre-school that serious?
Perhaps, Robert Fulghum has an answer for this question. As he describes it in his best seller, All I Really Need to Know I learnt in the Kinder Garten:“What did I learn in a Sunday School?These are the few of the things--Share everything, play fair, don’t hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your mess, don’t take things that aren’t yours, say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody, wash your hands before you eat. Flush……”