Monthly Archives: July 2015

Homework in preschool?

Did you know that homework can be, and often is, sent home for preschoolers? Do you think this is reasonable, or are you wondering whether this is even a good idea? You’re not alone, in either case, even I am getting various suggestions from parents and teachers regarding homework. As a policy we have never given homework to children but we are definitely ready to debate and discuss this issue raised by parent-teacher community.

photoI knew our child would eventually bring homework home, but I never expected it to happen at the preschool level. However, our parents and teachers report that homework in preschool is definitely happening. Is this completely crazy, or does it set a child up with a solid foundation as she goes through the rest of her school years?

Setting a foundation

Many parents we talked to felt that, within reason, homework at the preschool age helps set an important foundation. The type of homework sent home at this age varies from school to school, but most don’t make it overwhelming for the child and her parents. Often the tasks are simple, such as tracing a letter or practice writing their name. “I think it’s totally reasonable,” shares one of the parent. “It starts the homework habit early and gets the parents involved. Also, it helps the parents to know what they are learning during the day so they can reinforce it at home.”

“Nuha gets little homework assignments and I think it’s fun and involves us at home in her projects at school,” explains one of our teacher. “Usually it involves her cutting pictures out of a magazine for their colour books or bringing in something, like leaves. I think it sets them up to know that someone from home can help them with their work.”

Different types of homework

Some moms feel that regular, daily “busy work” homework is unnecessary for this age — but little projects every now and then are not only a good idea, but they can be lots of fun, too. “Simran’s KG class had ‘homework’ once,” says one of our parent. “They were told to learn the name and qualities of vegetables cooked at home everyday and share it the class next day. That kind of stuff gets parents involved, which I like. If she was sent home with pages of actual work I’d be a little upset — it’s not necessary.”

Another parent, thought the idea was, as she put it, stupid. “I think that’s unfair to the parents and disrespectful of everything else that is going on in people’s lives,” she says. Being involved in your child’s education starts from the day they are born, and it doesn’t stop when they go to school. Parent involvement is critical when it comes to your child’s success, and although preschool can seem like glorified day care, it really isn’t. Your kiddo is learning important social skills, classroom structure and how to be a good student — in addition to beginner academics. Having — and continuing to have — an interest in her schooling is a good habit for parents to get into. This also helps you be prepared to support your child throughout her education.

That being said, the parents we spoke to were about half and half on the necessity of homework for children this small. Being involved doesn’t have to mean helping your child with homework every day, especially for a 2 or 3-year-old who just wants to come home and play with blocks.

How do you feel? There’s a long-running debate on the benefits of homework. The purpose of homework is to bridge the gap between children’s learning at school and at home, but just how relevant is it to the modern generation? Let us know in the comments.

In my honest opinion, as shared in our previous blog, homework should be set at such a level that children can do with little or no help of the parents/elders at home. Is it possible at this age, probably not. Then what should we do? I have an answer for that too but I would like to read your suggestions first.

Note: The author is Founder-Director of Gyankriti. The views expressed here are personal.

Home-work or Parent’s work?

One evening my 9 yrs old nephew came to me asking to help him out in his homework. When I saw his assignment I was surprised, it was four pages long story and his task was to shorten it. Wow! I didn’t get this kind of task even in high school. Then I thought educators might have taught him in class. When I asked him to read out story and explain, I was shocked he was able to read it with some wrong pronunciations but unable to explain even a single line. I tried to explain him each line but finally gave up because I realized that, firstly that assignment was not meant for his standard, and secondly school is not preparing him to learn and explore, he is being prepared only for exams. Assignments given by teachers are actually not for students but it is a task of parents. And parents always want their kids’ assignment to be best in the class so they also get involved in it. After all they have to compete with “Sharma ji’s son”.

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Assignment is just not writing work. Assignment is learning.

I still remember when I was in school, for me assignment was just to note down classwork in another notebook, what we called ‘Fair Copy’. It didn’t really help in learning or exploring something new but at least this way whatever was taught in class was being revised at home and secondly parents didn’t bother to be a part of it. In my opinion for senior students assignment should be of their level, which they can complete by themselves, without getting any help from parents or tutors.

For preschoolers assignment should not be given from school side. Instead of that preschools can provide some sort of information handout every month (like we do in the form of Gyankriti Pitara), so that parents can revise those topics at home. On the other hand parents also have to understand that toddlers have limited attention span, so instead of forcing kids to revise at a particular time, they can make learning a part of their routine. E.g. When they want to revise fruits, they can actually take their kids’ to mall and ask them names of fruits. Or can be revised at home also.

Parent involvement is helpful but we should always keep in mind that trained and experienced tutors have different style of teaching which can’t be imitated by parents. Similarly we discourage parents to send their children to tuition classes (Yes! Some parents send preschoolers to tuition). We at Gyankriti believe that parents play an important role in the learning process of their children. Not allowing tuitions ensures that parents take interest and participate in the academics of children. Continuous parental support goes a long way in enhancing academic and co-curricular performance.

Note: The author is administrative head of Gyankriti, Sudarshan Nagar branch. The views expressed here are personal.


एक शाम मेरा ९ वर्षीय भांजा मेरे पास आया और उसने मुझे उसके गृहकार्य में मदद के लिए कहा। जब मैंने उसका कार्यभार देखा तो आश्चयचकित हो गयी, वह एक ४ पन्नों की लम्बी कहानी थी जिसे उसे छोटी बनाना था। वाह! इस तरह का गृहकार्य मुझे कभी उच्च विद्यालय में भी नहीं मिला था। फिर मुझे लगा कि सम्भवतः उसे शिक्षकों ने कक्षा में सिखाया होगा। जब मैंने उसे वो कहानी पढ़ने और समझाने के लिए कहा, मैं चकित हो गई वह उस कहानी को कुछ टूटे फूटे उच्चारण के साथ पढ़ तो रहा था पर उसकी एक भी पंक्ति समझ नहीं पा रहा था। मैंने उसे हर पंक्ति का मतलब समझने की कोशिश की पर हार गई क्योकि मुझे अहसास हुआ कि, पहली बात वो कार्यभार उसकी उम्र के लिए बहुत कठिन था, और दूसरी बात कि विद्यालय उसे सीखने और खोजने के लिए नहीं अपितु केवल परीक्षा के लिए तैयार कर रहा है। शिक्षकों द्वारा दिया गया गृहकार्य असल में विद्यार्थियों के लिए नहीं अपितु अभिभावकों के लिए होता है। और अभिभावक हमेशा चाहते हैं कि उनके बच्चे का कार्य सबसे अच्छा हो इसलिए वो भी उसका हिस्सा बन जाते हैं। अंत में उन्हें “शर्मा जी के बेटे” के साथ बराबरी जो करना है।

मुझे अभी भी याद है जब मैं विद्यार्थी थी, मेरे लिए कार्यभार होता था कक्षा में कराये गए कार्य को दूसरी कॉपी, जिसे हम ‘फेयर कॉपी’ कहते थे, में लिखना। असल में ऐसा करने से कुछ नया सीखने या खोजने में कोई मदद नहीं होती थी, पर कम से कम कक्षा में जो पढ़ाया गया है उसकी पुनरावृत्ति हो जाती थी, और इसके हम अभिभावकों को इसका हिस्सा भी नहीं बनाते थे।

मेरा मत है कि विद्यार्थियों को गृहकार्य उनके स्तर का देना चाहिए, जो वे बिना अभिभावक या ट्यूटर की मदद के स्वयं कर सकें। प्रीस्कूल विद्यार्थियों को विद्यालय की ओर से गृहकार्य नहीं देना चाहिए। इसके स्थान पर प्रीस्कूल हर माह स्कूल में होने वाली गतिविधियों की जानकारी दे सकते हैं (जैसे हम ज्ञानकृति पिटारा देते हैं), ताकि अभिभावक उन विषयों की पुनरावृत्ति घर पर करवा सके।

दूसरी ओर अभिभावक को यह भी समझना होगा कि बच्चों में एकाग्रता बहुत सिमित होती है, इसलिए उन्हें किसी नियत समय पर बलपूर्वक पढ़ाने के बजाये, पढ़ाई उनकी दिनचर्या का हिस्सा बना दें। उदहारण के लिए यदि वे ‘फल’ की पुनरावृत्ति करना चाहते हैं तो बच्चों को मॉल ले जाकर फलों के नाम पूछ सकते हैं, या घर पर भी इसी प्रकार सिखा सकते हैं।

अभिभावकों की सहभागिता मददगार है, किन्तु हमे यह भी ध्यान रखना चाहिए कि प्रशिक्षित और अनुभवी शिक्षकों का पढ़ाने का तरीका अलग होता है, जिसका अनुकरण अभिभावक नहीं कर सकते। इसी तरह हम उन अभिभावकों से भी असमर्थ हैं जो अपने बच्चों को कोचिंग क्लासेस भेजते हैं (हाँ! कुछ अभिभावक प्रीस्कूल के बच्चों को भी ट्यूशन भेजते हैं)। ज्ञानकृति का मत है कि बच्चों की पढ़ाई में माता पिता का योगदान महत्वपूर्ण है। ट्यूशन नहीं भेजना यह दर्शाता है कि बच्चों की पढ़ाई में माता पिता रूचि लेते हैं और उसका हिस्सा बनते हैं। अभिभावकों की लगातार सहायता बच्चों की अकादमिक और गैर-अकादमिक प्रदर्शन को बढ़ावा देता है।

नोट: लेखक ज्ञानकृति सुदर्शन नगर शाखा की प्रशासनिक प्रमुख हैं| यहाँ व्यक्त किये गए विचार व्यक्तिगत हैं।