Preschool Education Scenario in India
Although, the term ‘Preschool Curriculum’ and ‘Kindergarten Curriculum’ is widely used, but the usage of Curriculum in Preschool Programs and Kindergarten Programs is still not at all there.
At the most, what Preschools (be it individual preschools or popular franchised preschool chains) are having is the Syllabus, and it is completely left to the Principal and Teachers, that what they might be able to deliver with such Syllabus (only Syllabus and NOT Curriculum) in their hand.
These are the problems with existing Preschools education in India –
- Existing Nursery Teachers Training Programs, Preschool Teachers Training Programs are completely outdated and not at all as per present day requirements.
- Primarily and most significantly, workforce who does not find a suitable job anywhere else, comes to Preschool to work as a Principal, Teachers or Admission Counsellors.
- Preschool Principals and Teachers are also poor in their knowledge regarding Subjects/Content areas.
- All stakeholders alike, be it Preschool Administrators, Preschool Entrepreneurs, Preschool Principals, Preschool Teachers, Preschoolers Parents are having comfortably, very myopic understanding and awareness regarding Preschool and Preschool Education (Early Childhood care and education).
- Most importantly Preschool Teachers are paid very less salary, which is also one prime reason that Teachers are not expected to have capability and competency to do any value-addition to such provided Syllabus.
- Preschool Education in India is in an apocalyptic situation because of these –
a. incongruous thought and behaviour of Preschoolers parents, and equally, Government of India.
b. Preschoolers parents are not an aware customer and in many cases are just interested in, proverbially put, providing lip-service to their duties.
c. All preschool stakeholders are least interested in doing any good job pertaining to preschool education.
Preschool Education Scenario in India
What is Preschool?
‘Pre-School’, that is, ‘previous to primary school’, or ‘initial education’ or ‘early years education’. Preschool is presently known by many other names also and/or are having fused identity with, Play School, Day Care, and Kindergarten. Presently, Preschool Education typically covers children aged 1.5 to 5 or 6. As per ‘Preschool For Child Rights™‘, Preschool, Kindergarten, Day Care shall be considered together as one conceptual entity and should be known as ‘Child Care’.
What is Curriculum?
Curriculum may be explained as what happens in the classroom or laboratory and it must be relevant to the developing child’s needs and abilities, both today and tomorrow. The curriculum should provide opportunities for healthy social, emotional, physical and intellectual development besides intellectual and cognitive growth (Jenkins, 1986).
What is the CURRICULUM scenario in the Preschools of India?
If you speak to any of the Preschools of India, each preschool will tell you that, they are having curriculum and it is based on certain goals. And, main goal of their curriculum is to educate the children and make them good human beings. Hundred percent of preschools will tell you that goal of their curriculum is to impart knowledge to children for their all-round development.
But, even a little scratching on surface will tell you that most of the preschools did not cover all the aspects of development and that their main emphasis is on rote reading, writing and rote arithmetic.
Just by talking for five minutes you will come to know that even administrators and principals is not aware about goals and objectives of overall development of children.
Principal and Staff of most of the preschools of India, have the knowledge that the curriculum should be based on some goals but they are not aware about what type of goals and not at all bothered about achieving those goals.
Philosophy based curriculum
Hundred percent of preschools, will tell you that they are having ‘some’ philosophy based curriculum. But, even a minute of observation of such preschools and their staff will tell you that they might not even know the meaning of the term ‘philosophy’. They (preschools and their staff) are just speaking such sentences, because either their franchisors have told them to just memorize such sentences or else they have just copied it from some internet sites or some Marketing Brochures.
Presently, hardly a few preschool might know and understand the term philosophy, and mostly do not follow any philosophy given by different educators but actually they run the programs in a way they desired, and that too such whims and fancies made to rule the roost (of curriculum) are made on daily basis and not even weekly or monthly.
Most of the premium preschools will take name of any one of the two, Play Way Method or Montessori philosophy, being followed by them. Recently, a trend of taking name – Reggio Emilia approach, has also started, and most preschools taking such name do not even care to know that on what area such approach could be used.
Most of the preschools, who will tell that they are teaching with Montessori philosophy, would not be using the Montessori equipment and materials in the classroom activities. (Many might not even have the remotest idea of such Montessori equipment)
Most of the Preschool’s staff and principal would not be having any idea about Montessori’s philosophy.
There are many preschools which even do not allow children to go out from the classroom and do not allow children to talk with each other.
Recently a trend has started among preschools of India of using terms ‘child Centered’.
Child centered education is the best approach for children. Child centered approach helps the child to think and feel, become an active, curious, self-reliant, creative and autonomous learner. All the child studies reflect that child centered curriculum is the best approach for the young learners.
But, most of the preschools, which will tell you that they are child centered, would basically be ‘Some rote learning curriculum’ centered.
Most of the preschools, which would so-called ‘function well’, will basically be making children memorize, things like, counting, alphabets, 4-5 letter spellings, basic social questions (not imbibing social skills), some popular rhymes, tables etc. Let us all understand that even Gorilla can be taught to identify alphabets and do simple arithmetic.
Let us everybody understand here that learning ‘Subjects’ is of course required, but how that ‘Subjects’ are being taught and what specifically is being taught in that ‘Subjects’, make the entire and BIG difference. “Memorizing the spelling of apple”, and “developing an understanding in the young learner that apple must have grown big from seed, by using soil, water and sun light”; are two big different things.
Most of the preschools do not have even the slightest idea of delivering ‘subjects’ through proper teaching aids and other ideas, activities etc. Most of the preschools would only be using blackboards (greenboard /whiteboard) and if anything more than that, then only the Market Ready pre-printed Chart Papers.
Developmentally Appropriate Practices
One another very fashionable term (in fact the term is most appropriate) being used by preschools is ‘Developmentally Appropriate Practices’.
But, most of the preschools would just be using this term (Developmentally Appropriate Practices), and in some cases if the preschool would be franchisee of some popular chain (popular chain and not proper chain, read my related article here), then they are having this type of curriculum on paper only and would not be implementing practically. Principal and staff, of such preschools, do not even know the various ‘developmental milestones’.
Developmentally Appropriate philosophy suggests that the young children should be free from mental burden, that means load of the notebooks and homework policy should not over burden them.
Most of the preschools asks children to bring heavy school bags filled with notebooks, practice papers, writing books, drawing/painting books and even ‘COURSE’ books and allots a very regular home work (work to be done at home).The teachers at such preschools are generally very busy only in checking and giving the home work, so quite naturally they are not having enough time to conduct the activities.
Homework culture is not confined only in small town and bigger villages but even in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore etc.
The purpose of education is to foster competence in all aspects of life; the preschool curriculum should provide opportunities for wholesome and total learning. Unfortunately, even after seven decades of independence, our country does not have appropriate educational system for young children.
The one and most important thing around which each aspect of preschool revolves is the Curriculum and this is entirely missing from all Preschools, be it, individual Preschools, Preschool chains and Preschool Franchise offerings.
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