Tag Archives: play

Mixed Group Day – Unique form of teaching and learning

Mixed group is a unique form of teaching where the children are the teachers and learners themselves. Mixed group day is a day in the week when a group of children of various age group and classes come together in an environment where these children learn to help and be helped by other children and the whole process of peer learning takes place. There is a good and consistent interaction that takes place among children whose age and abilities are varied. Maria Montessori said nature and nurture work hand-in-hand where the groups should contain different ages, because it has great influence on the cultural, social and emotional development of the child.

A Grade1 student is re-telling the “Lion and Mouse” story from Nursery syllabus.

A student explaining the safety procedures of Roller Skating. The younger students are supposed to do skating in coming years.

It has been observed that within 3 -4 weeks the children get acquainted to all students and teachers in the school and develop a beautiful bonding and they keep exchanging a ‘hi-bye’ whenever they meet.

The importance of mixed group is felt more now as the upbringing of kids are now in nuclear family whereas there was a strong system of joint families in earlier days where a lot of learning would occur among brothers, sisters, cousins when they played, studied and did things together. The difference of few years creates a comfort zone for the children at both ends to help out more. The child also gets her own time and learns at her own pace which is crucial for a child’s learning. The propensity of accomplishing the task, learning how to cooperate and act sensibly in a situation doubles.

We at Gyankriti feel that mixed group is not only a medium for learning but also an opportunity to promote interaction among children of various age groups, which plays a part in enhancing their all round development.

FAQs for teachers organizing Mixed Group:

1) What are the logistics of planning a mixed group?

Organizing mixed group for the first time is bit difficult but it gets easy with time. You need to plan the classrooms settings and number of groups you will form at the school level. Then the students are evenly distributed in proportion of strength of each class. The groups may be same or different for each week.

2) How frequent should we organize mixed group activities?

Ideally it should be on daily basis but due to logistical constraints we do it once in a week. The last day of the week is left empty for regular syllabus and a significant time (1-2 hours) is spent on mixed group activities every Friday or Saturday.

3) What is role of teacher in mixed group class?

Teacher acts as a mere facilitator and tries to minimize her interference in the class. She must try to explain all the rules carefully before starting the class. One or two student leaders should be chosen to make sure all the rules are followed sincerely. However the student leaders are not supposed to scold any child, they should in fact take care of other children just like teachers.

4) What activities should be conducted?

Let the students decide what they want to share. If they don’t, you can suggest simple activities that have happened recently in any of the classes. We should never underestimate younger children, many times they are in fact better at sharing certain things.

If you are educator and wish to know more about our teaching methodology  kindly visit the following links

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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.

The importance of Play | बच्चों को खेलना क्यों चाहिए?

Why should children play?

Simply because play is the work of childhood. Play helps children learn better, retain learning and enjoy the process. Play teaches children to reason, use logic, plan, work with others, sometimes lead, sometimes follow, to win or lose and to shake hands and make up after a contest.

It’s important that children play with appropriate toys and have the option of indoor and outdoor play. Use of battery toys, computer games and video games should not qualify as play as they are harmful in several ways.

  1. Such toys set the agenda for a child. It’s not the child thinking or working out what to do next; it’s the toy that decides.
  2. They tend to reduce social interaction and make children anti-social.
  3. Reduced social interaction impairs the development of communication skills.
  4. Such toys/games can be very addictive.
  5. They could cause obesity, eye and other health problems.

Children have everything to gain when you give them the gift of play. Depriving children of play opportunities could have negative consequences – depression, aggression and hostility.

हिंदी अनुवाद

बच्चों को खेलना क्यों चाहिए? क्योकि खेलना बचपन का अभिन्न अंग है। खेलना बच्चों के सीखने की क्षमता को बढ़ाने, याद रखने और प्रक्रिया का आनंद लेने में मदद करता है। खेलने से बच्चे कई महत्वपूर्ण बातें सीखते हैं, जैसे कारणों को जानना, तर्क का उपयोग करना, योजना बनाना, अन्य लोगों के साथ काम करना, कभी नेतृत्व करना, कभी पालन करना, जीतना या हारना और हाथ मिलाना एवं प्रतियोगिता के बाद एक हो जाना।

यह बहुत महत्वपूर्ण है कि बच्चे उपयुक्त खिलौनों से खेलें एवं उनके पास घर के अंदर व् बाहर खेलने का विकल्प हो। बैटरी चलित खिलौनों का प्रयोग, कंप्यूटर गेम्स एवं वीडियो गेम्स खेल की श्रेणी में नहीं आना चाहिए  क्योकि वे बच्चों के लिए कई मायनों में हानिकारक हैं।

  1. ऐसे खिलौने बच्चों के लिए कार्यसूची बना देते हैं। इसमें बच्चे खुद से कुछ नहीं सोच रहे होते हैं, ना ही वे आगे की कार्यप्रणाली बनाते हैं, ये निर्णय खिलौने लेते हैं।
  2. वे सामाजिक संवाद कम करते हैं, व् बच्चों को असामाजिक बनाते हैं।
  3. सामाजिक संवाद की कमी बच्चों के संचार कौशल को बाधित करती है।
  4. ऐसे खिलौने/गेम्स बच्चों की लत बन सकते हैं।
  5. वे मोटापे, आँख व् अन्य स्वास्थ्य सम्बंधित परेशानियों का भी कारण बन सकते हैं।

जब आप बच्चों को खेलने की स्वतंत्रता देते हैं तो वे सब कुछ सीख लेते हैं। अवसाद, आक्रामकता और शत्रुता – खेलने के अवसरों से वंचित बच्चों के नकारात्मक परिणाम हो सकते हैं।

रचना सक्सेना द्वारा हिंदी में अनुवाद किया गया|

नोट: लेखक ज्ञानकृति के संस्थापक एवं निदेशक है| यहाँ व्यक्त किये गए विचार व्यक्तिगत हैं।

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