This article is the first part of a two part series that talks about quality preschool and why should parents pay for quality preschool. In this first article we give some pointers on defining quality.
There have been lot of articles about how quality preschool is important to children overall development. But parents look for facilities sometimes as the only sign for quality. Although facilities are a great starting point for quality education however they are not the only thing parents should look for. This article will help parents to figure out whether the preschool/school /daycare is providing quality other than providing great facilities to their children during their early years (1 to 6 years).
Quality starts from providing good facilities and environment. However the environment needs to have activities and equipment that help the children expand on their sensitive phases in early development years. Children have unique affinity towards language, maths, sensory experiences and the environment should not only highlight but be inviting to the child to experience these by himself/herself.
Here are a few things that we think are important to help children experience the learning. A quality preschool program must have the following
Focus on Child-Led Learning
Children are the creators of their own learning journey. Within a framework, children should be able to choose the learning rather than being told what to do. This helps the child to make decisions and helps in naturally selecting topics that are consistent with sensitive phases. Also this approach helps the to absorb the information faster because the child is the prime motivator for his learning.
Not be a mix of popular philosophies
A program that is a mix of lot of philosophies doesn’t seem to address any philosophy clearly. The teachers also find it very difficult to plan for activities and learning journey that provide value to children and their learning. In such cases, most activities are geared around some sort of entertainment to the child and children get the wrong association with the school.
Strengthen group dynamics
A quality program must help children to work within a group. The child should learn to share materials and wait for his/her turn. The program should also encourage learning from each other. This makes the entire school environment conducive to learning.
Encourage Individualised learning rather than herd learning
Individualised learning is very important during the formative years. We have noticed that a 2 month difference in age can have a huge difference in learning abilities especially for children less than 4 years. Every child’s learning and development progress is unique and should not be measured or compared to any other child’s development. This is because the sensitive phases, home life and overall context is different for every child.