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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

Free & Open Education Resources (Contact us for login details) – नि: शुल्क एवं ओपन एज्युकेशन रिसोर्सेस (लॉगिन जानकारी के लिए संपर्क करें)

Steps toward stronger parent-teacher interaction

To increase the interaction between parents and teachers we have decided to introduce two new methods. First of all, home visits of all students at the beginning of session. We have already started with KG-1 students and hope to do the same for pre-nursery and nursery in the month of June. Second of all, we want to improve the way “open house Saturdays” are conducted, from next session teachers will give a small workshop of next fortnights curriculum along with the regular interaction. More details:

Home visits

Class Teachers visit each student’s home for about 15 minutes in the first one to one-and-a-half months of the academic year. The bond created by this and the understanding got by the teacher regarding the various aspects of the child’s background and the child herself is of immense value. This truly helps her to play the role of a nurturer and facilitate the overall development of the child.

These visits are coordinated with parents and it is necessary for both parents and the child to be present during the Home Visit. All other family members (e.g. grand parents) are encouraged to be a part of the discussion and give their inputs. The purpose of this visit is to learn about the home environment of the child and also know the people living with her.
The focus is on rapport-building between the family and the educator. This helps the child to get the most effective guidance from both home and the school. The home visit is the first step to unite the educator and the parents with the single-minded goal of what’s best for the child.

The questions asked during the visit cover areas like the socio-economic background of the family, likes and dislikes of the child, general health (including medicines) and habits of the child, friends in the neighbourhood and concerns of the parents regarding the child. Home Visit is an opportunity for the class teacher to discuss the philosophy of the school and help the parents understand what the school expects from them. The discussion also helps her identify the various areas requiring guidance and also the reason for any particular behavioural pattern displayed by the child. Apart from questions, she also observes and makes a mental note of various points like the neighbourhood environment, the parenting style, lifestyle, etc. Educators are expected to accept no hospitality other than water! WE politely but firmly refuse all offerings, even tea or coffee. The educators take time out after the regular school hours and make these visits.

Renewed open house Saturdays
Regular fortnightly workshops will be conducted by the class teachers for the parents to enable them to know the agenda in school for the next two weeks. The class teacher will teach the mothers & fathers what she is going to teach their children in the next two weeks.

Research shows that programs that teach mothers to improve the quality of cognitive stimulation and verbal interaction produce immediate effects on the child’s intellectual development. It is seen that the level of involvement of mothers in the initial years of rearing is high and a mother is always the first teacher to the child.

When we have a PTA (Parent-Teacher-Association) that meets once or twice in a year, it serves no real purpose. Each blames the other over a cup of tea and samosas and the meeting is over with nothing purposeful achieved. The parents and educators should meet more often and develop a bond with each other. This can be done by meeting preferably once in two weeks but at-least once in a month.

These workshops will be held during school hours on 2nd & 4th Saturdays and time for one hour (generally between 10 to 11 am). A note will be sent in the school diary/email regarding the agenda of the forthcoming Workshop.

The focus is on the home-bound activities a parent can undertake to enhance learning. At times experts (e.g. psychologists or paediatricians) will conduct these workshops. The teaching methodology is explained and actually shown on the blackboard for a particular topic so that there is no conflict between the educator and parent style of guiding
the student. Thus parents and educators are working together for the child’s benefit. Any individual query regarding a particular student by a parent is strictly discouraged, as  workshop is not the forum to discuss any one-on-one issues. Curriculum based questions by parents are encouraged. Parents are encouraged to share experiences they come across while guiding their child. At times rapport-building sessions are conducted in which the class teacher introduces certain games or a questionnaire like how well you know your child or how to boost the child’s self esteem etc. Parents share actual experiences or anecdotes from their child’s life.

We hope that these steps will help bring educators and parents close. Children benefit when the adults around them share common values about child-rearing, communicate with one another, and give the children consistent support and guidance.

Guidelines for PTC – पीटीसी के लिए दिशा-निर्देश

What are parent-teacher conferences (PTC)? अभिभावक-शिक्षक सम्मेलन (PTC) क्या हैं?
Parent-teacher conferences are short (10 -15 Minutes) one to one session between parent and teacher that are formally arranged by the school twice in a year usually on Saturday. The PTCs are a valuable tool to help a parent and  child’s teacher(s) work together for child’s success. This is a great  opportunity for parents to ask questions and gather information that  will help them to encourage their children to achieve success. Common agenda points to discuss in PTCs will include going through the important achievements, goals set, issues with academics or behavior etc.

अभिभावक शिक्षक सम्मेलन आम तौर पर वर्ष में दो बार प्रायः शनिवार को आयोजित किये जाते हैं, जिसमे माता-पिता और शिक्षक के बीच १०-१५ मिनट के छोटे सत्र होते है। यह सम्मेलन बच्चे की सफलता के लिए अभिभावक व् शिक्षक को साथ में कार्य करने में एक मददगार साधन है। अभिभावकों के लिए यह एक अच्छा अवसर है जब वे अपने प्रश्न पूछ सकते हैं और जानकारी प्राप्त कर सकते हैं जिससे वे अपने बच्चे को सफलता के लिए प्रोत्साहित कर सकते हैं। सम्मेलन में चर्चा की सामान्य कार्यसूची में सम्मिलित बिंदु इस प्रकार हैं, प्रमुख उपलब्धियां, नियत लक्ष्य, अकादमिक गतिविधियों से सम्बंधित प्रश्न और व्यवहार इत्यादि।

How parent-teacher conferences are conducted? अभिभावक-शिक्षक सम्मेलन कैसे संचालित की जाती हैं?
Parents are informed at the starting of the session through a circular about the frequency of the PTCs during the year. The PTCs are generally conducted in the classroom. Different time slots have been allotted to the parents according to set time limit and number of students in the class.

सत्र के आरम्भ में अभिभावकों को सम्मेलन की आवृत्ति के बारे में सूचना दे दी जाती है। सम्मेलन आमतौर पर कक्षा में आयोजित किये जाते हैं। अभिभावकों को कक्षा में विद्यार्थियों की संख्या के अनुसार निर्धारित समय आवंटित कर दिया गया है।

Why the PTCs are important? अभिभावक-शिक्षक सम्मेलन क्यों आवश्यक है?

It is very important to have good relationships between parents and teacher because the goals for the child are indeed shared goals; both teacher and parent want what is best for the child/student. By conducting these sessions with parents Teacher gets opportunity to
discuss the child’s learning progress and by attending, parents can show that they are interested and prepared to participate in and support their child’s learning.

The PTC will give you feedback on your child’s performance and progress.Also it is chance for parents to find out how their child is getting along in school and what is going on inside the classroom. Since the parents are considered as primary educator, they can contribute a lot to the discussions and decisions of their child’s progress.

अभिभावक व् शिक्षक के बीच अच्छे सम्बन्ध होना अत्यंत आवश्यक है क्योकि बच्चों के लक्ष्य बंटे हुए लक्ष्य हैं। अभिभावक व् शिक्षक दोनों ही बच्चे के लिए सर्वश्रेष्ठ चाहते हैं। अभिभावकों के साथ ऐसे सत्र आयोजित करने से शिक्षकों को अवसर मिलता है कि वे बच्चे के विकास के बारे में चर्चा कर सकें, और उपस्थित होने से अभिभावक भी यह दर्शा सकते हैं कि बच्चे के विकास में वे रूचि लेते हैं।

सम्मेलन में आपको आपके बच्चे के प्रदर्शन और विकास के बारे में जानकारी दी जाएगी। साथ ही अभिभावकों के लिए यह जानने का अवसर है कि उनका बच्चा विद्यालय में कैसा प्रदर्शन कर रहा है और कक्षा के अंदर क्या चल रहा है। चूंकि अभिभावक प्राथमिक शिक्षाविद माने जाते हैं, वे बच्चों की चर्चा व् निर्णय में योगदान दे सकते हैं।

Dos and Don’ts for Parents अभिभावक सम्मेलन में क्या करें और क्या न करें

DOs:
1. Do attend the PTCs in the slots been given to you unless there is an emergency.
2. Both the parents will have to be present for the PTC.
3. In case you are late, you will not be able to get the allotted time with the teacher.
4. Please respect the privacy of the meeting.If a meeting is in progress or the teacher is busy, do not walk into the class. The teacher will call you in when she is ready to meet you.
5. Please bring the file with previous worksheets, pitara and any other documents as per the list sent to you.
6. Be prepared with questions that you want to ask at the conference to save time i.e. if you want specific feedback on maths or you wanted to discuss your child’s social skills etc.
7. Share information which you think is important for a teacher to know.
8. Be open to suggestions from the teacher.
9. If you wish to leave any comments/ give any feedback for the meeting, please fill in the Parents Feedback Form after PTC is over.

Don’ts
1. Please switch off your mobile phones before you enter in the classroom for the meeting.
2. Do not interrupt the teacher in between the meeting.
3. Do not exceed your allocated time limit.
4. Do not defend your child if teacher has mentioned any specific issue.
5. Do not lose control over emotions.Try to stay calm and focused on what will help the child the most.
6. Do not stray from the topic.
7. Do not discuss about the other child or the other teacher.

क्या करें :
1. यदि कोई आपात स्थिति न हो तो सम्मेलन में निर्धारित समय में ही उपस्थित हों।
2. माता- पिता दोनों की उपस्थिति अनिवार्य है।
3. यदि आपको विलम्ब हुआ, तो आबंटित किया हुआ १० मिनट का समय आपको प्रदान नहीं किया जा सकेगा।
4. कृपया सम्मेलन की गोपनीयता बनायें रखें। यदि सम्मेलन चल रहा है या शिक्षक व्यस्त हैं, तो कक्षा में ना जाएँ। जब भी शिक्षक आपसे मिलने के लिए तैयार होंगे वो आपको अंदर बुलाएँगे।
5. कृपया फाइल के साथ पुरानी वर्कशीट, पिटारा और सूची में लिखित अन्य दस्तावेजों को भी लाएं।
6. समय बचाने के लिए अपने प्रश्नों को तैयार करके आएं जैसे यदि आप गणित में कोई विशेष प्रतिपुष्टि चाहते हैं या बच्चे के सामाजिक कौशल के बारे में चर्चा करना हैं इत्यादि।
7. ऐसी जानकारी साझा करें जो आप चाहते हैं कि शिक्षक का जानना महत्वपूर्ण है।
8. शिक्षक के सुझावों को गलत नजरिये से ना देखें
9. यदि आप सम्मेलन के लिए किसी तरह की टिप्पणी करना चाहें या कोई सुझाव देना चाहें तो सम्मलेन के उपरान्त कृपया अभिभावक प्रतिपुष्टि फार्म को भरें।

क्या ना करें
1. सम्मेलन के लिए कक्षा में प्रवेश करने से पहले कृपया अपना मोबाइल फ़ोन बंद कर लें।
2. सम्मेलन के बीच में शिक्षक को हस्तक्षेप ना करें।
3. निर्धारित समय में ही बैठक समाप्त करने की कोशिश करें।
4. यदि शिक्षक कोई समस्या का उल्लेख करती हैं तो अपने बच्चे का बचाव ना करें।
5. भावुक होकर अपना संयम ना खोएं। शांत रहें व् जो बच्चे के भले के लिए है उसी पर केंद्रित रहें।
6. विषय से भटके नहीं।
7. किसी अन्य बच्चे या शिक्षक के बारे में बात ना करें।

Postponement of PTC Slot सम्मेलन के समय का पुनर्निर्धारण:

Rationale: At times there are requests from parents to change the slot because of:

– Engaged in some other work which is unavoidable.
– Out of town for some work etc.

The motto of the school is to address genuine  requests made by parents for the change in PTC slots other than slots fixed from school side.

औचित्य: कभी कभी निन्मलिखित कारणों से अभिभावक समय बदलने के लिए निवेदन करते हैं :

-किसी ऐसे कार्य में व्यस्त हो जाना जिसे टाला ना जा सके।
-किसी कार्यवश शहर से बाहर होना इत्यादि.

विद्यालय का सिद्धांत है कि नियत किये गए समय के अलावा कोई और समय के यथार्थ निवेदनों पर ध्यान देना।

Guidelines for Postponement of PTC Slot सम्मेलन के समय के पुनर्निर्धारण के लिए मार्गदर्शन ::

-If there is any genuine case or emergency then only a parent can ask for a change in PTC slot.
-For any change in date (not in time slot), parent  need to send the request by email or through letter, addressed to the Gyankriti Head Office ( support@gyankriti.com )  at least 7 days in advance, unless it’s an emergency.
-The reasons for the postponement must be mentioned in the notification to check whether the reason is genuine or not.
-If the reason is found genuine, HO will approve the same and send it to the teacher for further processing.
-The teacher then will find a mutually convenient slot before or after the regular PTC date and will inform the parent about the confirmed date and time for the meeting through diary note.
-यदि कोई यथार्थ समस्या या आपात स्थिति हो तभी अभिभावक समय बदलने के लिए कह सकते हैं।
-आपात स्थिति में तारीख में बदलाव के लिए अभिभावक को ई-मेल ( support@gyankriti.com ) या पत्र के माध्यम से कम से कम ७ दिन पहले मुख्यालय में निवेदन करना होगा।
-पुनर्निर्धारण के कारण का उल्लेख सूचना में अवश्य करें ताकि हम देख सकें कि कारण यथार्थ है या नहीं।
-यदि कारण यथार्थ है तो मुख्यालय उसे स्वीकृति देगा और आगे की प्रक्रिया के लिए उसे शिक्षक को भेजा जायेगा।
-शिक्षक सम्मेलन की तारीख के पहले या बाद का कोई उपुक्त समय निकाल कर अभिभावक को सूचित करेंगी
-यदि कारण यथार्थ है तो मुख्यालय उसे स्वीकृति देगा और आगे की प्रक्रिया के लिए उसे शिक्षक को भेजा जायेगा।
-शिक्षक सम्मेलन की तारीख के पहले या बाद का कोई उपुक्त समय निकाल कर अभिभावक को सूचित करेंगी।

Modern Nationalism: Mopping the floor

Recently I came across a viral Facebook post, it narrated the scene at a coffee shop:

So I am sitting at Starbucks yesterday and this group of three executives comes in.
They grab a table which a customer had just vacated.
It was slightly messy with a plate and a cup on it.
These three scream for the staff to clean it and complain loudly about the falling standards of cleanliness. (“Saala Starbucks Bhi KFC ban gaya hai. Itni gandh!”)
They leave about forty minutes later.
Leaving an even bigger mess on the table with plastic cups and bits of pastry.
A young lady takes the table.
She looks like a student and I think she is from Japan because her cap has the Rising Sun on it.
She picks up the plastic cups and throws them into a dustbin.
She then goes over to the counter, takes some tissues and starts cleaning the table.
Some of the staff notice
And run over to her and say that she should not bother. They will clean the table.
She answers:
“No, it is all right. It is my table, no?”

A massive lesson there.

The topmost comment on the post was even better. Why are we Indians like that?

A lesson should be learnt for sure, but the problem is in how we grew up looking at the system. Starting from we being a kid, every time we mad a mess, there was somebody to clean in be it mom or a house maid. I guess not everybody has been taught to even fix our bed after we get up. We need to start from there.

At Gyankriti we believe that teaching Practical Life Skills and Survival Skills along with regular academics is the most important responsibility of any school. Our preschool toddlers are trained to do basic age appropriate skills on their own, it may be buttoning, lacing, dusting or cleaning the floor after eating.

Yeah!! Cleaning and mopping the floor, for toddlers. Isn’t that bit extreme? No, it is not. In fact the children enjoy these activities and repeat on their own at home. There begins the problem because of our conditioned mindset. Some parents don’t like the fact that children are doing these activities at the school. This isn’t something “people like us” are supposed to do, it is the “maid’s job” after all. I am really disheartened when I get these kind of feedbacks from the “young, educated, middle class” audience we serve. School children in Japan clean the school toilets on their own. We don’t even know the name of aaya who cleaned the toilets of our school/office.

At the same time I would like to appreciate a vast majority of our parent community who love these kind of activities and encourage their children. Nationalism in modern time is not about wars or movements. It makes more sense to put efforts in bringing up our children in a way that they make our country proud in the way, the Japanese girl did. PM Narendra Modi started a fantastic Swacch Bharat mission after last year’s Independence Day speech, its success solely depends on our responsible behaviour. Let’s stop saying “यह मेरा काम नहीं है” or “यह काम मेरे level का नहीं है” for a better India.

Happy Independence Day.

जय हिन्द!

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

Reproduced from original post on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/modern-nationalism-mopping-floor-yograj-patel

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.

बचपन की देखभाल और शिक्षा – कोई बच्चों का खेल नहीं

“बचपन की देखभाल और शिक्षा के क्षेत्र में निवेश किया गया हर एक डॉलर बेहतर शिक्षा, स्वास्थ्य, सामाजिक और आर्थिक परिणाम पैदा करता है|” – प्रो जेम्स हेकमैन (अर्थशास्त्र में नोबेल पुरस्कार विजेता)

बचपन के पहले छ: वर्ष सबसे अधिक महत्वपूर्ण होते है, क्योंकि इसी समय में मानसिक विकास सबसे तीव्र गति से होता है| इस समय के विकास में ना सिर्क स्वास्थय, पोषण और देखभाल की गुणवत्ता जरुरी है बल्कि साथ में दिए जाने वाले वातावरण का भी महत्त्व होता है| इस उम्र के अनुभवों का असर आने वाले कई वर्षो तक दिखाई देता है| जीवन के पहले तीन वर्षों को भाषा और शब्दावली के विकास में सबसे महत्वपूर्ण होते है| उच्च गुणवत्ता वाले ECCE (early childhood care and education) प्रोग्राम जिनमे बच्चों को भाषा सम्बंधित गतिविधियाँ करवाई जाती है, माध्यमिक और उच्च शिक्षा में भी मदद करते हैं|

प्रारंभिक शिक्षा के कई लाभ होने के बावजूद आज भी हमारे देश में ऐसे शिक्षा संस्थानों की कमी है| भारतवर्ष में आज भी सिर्क १.१% शिशु प्रीस्कूल में दाखिला लेते है जबकि फ्रांस और स्कॉटलैंड जैसे देशों में यह संख्या १००% तक है| यही नहीं हमारे देश में प्रीस्कूल शिक्षण को लेकर अभी भी कोई तयशुदा मापदंड नहीं है| इन सभी बातों का असर प्रीस्कूल में दी जाने वाली सुविधों पर साफ़-साफ़ दिखाई देता है|

सन १९९६ में सर्वप्रथम NCERT ने निर्देशिका जारी की थी जिसमें ECCE के क्षेत्र में काम करने रहे संस्थओं के लिए न्यूनतम तय दिशा-निर्देश थे| उनमे से कुछ निर्देश इस प्रकार थे:

व्यापक पहलु विशिष्ट दिशानिर्देश
बुनियादी ढांचे एवं सुविधाएँ विद्यालय की भौगोलिक स्तिथि, खेलने के लिए स्थान, स्वचा शुद्ध पेयजल की उपलब्धता, प्रसाधन, सोने के लिए स्थान एवं भंडार गृह|
उपकरण और सामग्री बड़ी मांसपेशियों के विकास के लिए बाहरी उपकरण/ सामग्री, आंतरिक उपकरण/ सामग्री, प्राथमिक चिकित्सा किट
सुरक्षा एवं बचावन खेल-कूद वाले क्षेत्र की सुरक्षा, स्वतः बंद होने वाले दरवाज़े ना लगाना, बच्चों को नुकसानदेह  किसी भी वास्तु के लिए पृथक भंडारण व्यवस्था; जो उनके पहुच से दूर न हो, बच्चों से सम्बंधित सभी वस्तुओं का समय समय पर रखरखाव एवं नुकीली वस्तुओं के उपयोग पर रोक|
कर्मचारी कर्मचारियों की उपलब्धता, शिक्षक-छात्र अनुपात, कर्मचारियों की शैक्षणिक योग्यता एवं तनख्वाह|
प्रवेश की उम्र प्रीस्कूल के लिए उपयुक्त कक्षानुसार उम्र को दर्शाता है
परवेश प्रक्रिया पुरानी प्रवेश प्रक्रियाओं के बजाय किसी दूसरी प्रक्रिया को अपनाना
प्रोग्राम समय, पाठ्यक्रम एवं पढ़ने का तरीका|
प्रलेखन प्रवेश रिकॉर्ड, प्रगति रिपोर्ट, टीचर्स डायरी, स्टाफ एवं छात्रों का उपस्थिति पत्रक, आय-व्यय, वस्तुओं का लेखाजोखा एवं कर्मचारियों से सम्बंधित जानकारी|

वर्तमान में ECCE  केन्द्रों के पाठ्यक्रम में कोई समानता नहीं है| प्रीस्कूल अपने केंद्र पर उपलब्ध सामान के आधार पर पाठ्यक्रम तय करते हैं| हालाँकि भारत सरकार द्वारा सुझाये गए “राष्ट्रीय पाठ्यक्रम की रुपरेखा” में प्रीस्कूल पाठ्यक्रमों के बारे में कहता है-

“इस उम्र में बच्चों में बड़ी तेजी से शारीरिक एवं मानसिक विकास होता हैं| इसी उम्र में बच्चें आत्म-निर्भर एवं उत्सुक नज़र आते है| जैसे जैसे उनका उनका शारीरिक विकास होता है वे सामाजिक एवं सांस्कृतिक रूप से विकसित और परिपक्व होते जाते है| वे बहुत जल्दी अपने वातावरण में घुल-मिल जाते है और धीरे-धीरे अपनी कल्पनाशीलता के द्वारा भूतकाल एवं वर्तमान में आये अनुभवों को संजोने का प्रयास करते है| खेल-खेल में बच्चों का सर्वंगीण विकास होता है जिसके लिए एकदम सरल एवं बार-बार दोहराई जाने वाले हाव-भाव, जिसमे किसी वास्तु का समावेश भी सम्मिलित हो सकता है| इस उम्र में ही भाषा का विकास होता है, संकेतों की भाषा समझ में आने लगती है| इसी उम्र में अहंकार भी जागृत होता है जिसके द्वारा दो लोगो के विचारों की असमानता भी बच्चों को समझ में आती है| इसी समय में बच्चें कल्पनालोक में भी विचरण करते है| शारीरिक क्षमता, वैचारिक परिपक्वता एवं उचित सामाजिक विन्यास के लिए आवश्यक विस्वास, आदतें एवं रवैया तैयार होने के लिए प्रीस्कूल का समय सबसे प्रभावशाली एवं उचित होता है| सभी प्रीस्कूल चलने वालों कू इस बात की गंभीरता को ध्यान में रखते हुए अपने पाठ्यक्रम की रचना करना चाहिए ताकि इन कक्षाओं में पढने के इच्छुक बच्चों का समग्र विकास सुनिश्चित किया जा सके|”

भारत सरकार ने लम्बे और उपेक्षापूर्ण रवैये के बाद अंतत: प्रीस्कूल नीतियों की तरफ ध्यान दिया है| ECCE नीति का लक्ष्य गली-मोहल्लों में तेजी से खुल रहे झूलाघर, प्रीस्कूलों जिनका कोई शैक्षणिक स्तर नहीं है उनका सुधार करना है| केन्द्रीय मंत्रिमंडल द्वारा तैयार नीति के प्रमुख बिंदु निम्नलिखित है:

१) सभी बच्चों को सम्मिलित करने हेतु अनुकूलन कार्यनीति

२) पाठ्यक्रम की गुणवत्ता एवं स्तर

३) समुचित विकास सुनिश्चित करने के लिए समाज एवं परिवार को समाविष्ट करना

४) व्यवसायिकता को बढ़ावा देना

५) बच्चों के व्यवस्थित विकास एवं सुरक्षा को बढ़ावा देना

हम उम्मीद करते है की जल्द ही एक राष्ट्रीय परिषद् का गठन होगा को प्रीस्कूल और झूलाघरों में शैक्षणिक मानकीकरण, प्रशिक्षित शिक्षक, स्वछता एवं स्वास्थ्या पर दिशानिर्देश निर्धारित करेगा| कुछ प्रस्तावित दिशानिर्देश निम्नानुसार है-

१) ३-४ घंटे पढाई

२) ३० बच्चों की कक्षा के लिए कम से कम ३५ वर्ग मीटर का कमरा

३) न्युन्यतम ३० वर्ग मीटर का खुला बाहरी इलाका|

४) सुरक्षित भवन

५) सुगम, स्वच्छ एवं हरा-भरा क्षेत्र

६) स्वच्छ शुद्ध पेयजल

७) प्राथमिक उपचार सुविधा

८) शिक्षण सहायक सामग्री

९) भोजन एवं सोने के समय का नियंत्रण

१०) ३ से ६ वर्ष के बच्चों के लिए बालक-शिक्षक अनुपात २०:१ तथा ३ वर्ष से कम आयु वर्ग से लिए १०:१ हो|

‘ज्ञानकृति’ ने “प्रीस्कूल चले हम” अभियान आरम्भ किया है जिसके द्वारा उच्चस्तरीय प्रारंभिक शिक्षा के प्रति जागरूकता लाने का प्रयास किया जा रहा है| विभिन्न अभियानों के माध्यम से हम अपने अभियान को बढ़ावा दे रहे है|

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

English Translation: http://www.gyankriti.com/blog/early-childhood-care-and-education-no-childs-play-2/

Early Childhood Care and Education: No child’s play

“Every dollar invested in quality early childhood care and education produces a 7-10% return in better education, health, social and economic outcomes.”

– Prof. James Heckman (Nobel Laureate in Economics)

The first six years of life are critical years since the rate of development in these years is more rapid than at any other stage of development. In the early years development is influenced not only by health, nutrition and quality of care but also by the quality of stimulation and early learning experiences provided to the child. These initial experiences of a child’s life set the pattern for years to come. The first three years of life are a crucial time for acquiring language and building vocabulary. High-quality Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programs that expose infants and toddlers to language-rich activities have been linked to higher academic achievement in later years.

Despite the benefits of early education, our country has lagged in making sure high-quality programs are available for tiny-tots. In India only 1.1% kids are enrolled in Preschools, whereas the enrolment rate is almost 100% in countries like France and Scotland. Moreover, the present scenario in India in the delivery of ECCE is marked by diversity of programmatic approach, content and standards. There are no standard practices followed. All of this has a direct bearing on the quality of services being provided.

Though quality matters in the delivery of ECCE services, there are no norms, guidelines or framework binding on implementers. Minimum Specifications for Preschools, is a suggestive guide published by NCERT in 1996. This document serves as a guideline for policy makers and implementers for laying down basic norms and specifications for Early Childhood Education(ECE). In its attempt at setting some standards and norms, the document covers the following aspects:

Broad Aspects Covered Specific Aspect for which Guidelines Provided
Physical structure and facilities Location; play areas; facility for drinking water; sanitary facilities; sleeping facilities; storage space
Equipment and material Outdoor equipment/material for large muscle development; Indoor equipment/material; First aid kit
Safety precautions Safety of play space; not to use self locking doors; materials that could harm children should be stored in areas inaccessible to children; no toxic colour/paint should be used for play equipment; regular maintenance of outdoor equipment; avoid sharp edges in equipment, etc.
Pre school staff Staff structure and adult child ratio; qualifications of the teacher; qualifications of the helper; salary structure
Age for admission Explains the age specific development of the child vis-à-vis appropriate age for pre-school
Admission procedure Alternative strategies suggested as a departure from the practised admission procedure
The pre-school programme Timings; Content and methodology
Record and registers Admission records; progress records; teachers’ diary; registers – attendance of staff and children, accounts, stock and staff profile

At present there is no uniformity in the curriculum followed in the ECCE Centres. Service providers have developed their curriculum on the basis of the material available. The understanding among programme implementers is not always in line with the desired. However, the National Curriculum Framework includes a section on the curricular content of pre –school education. It states the following:

“During the pre-primary stage, enormous changes take place in the children’s physical growth and mental development. From a state of dependence and helplessness the children gradually attain independence and become curious learners. As their bodies grow and respond to the social and cultural cues, their nervous systems mature and their cognitive experiences are enhanced. They quickly adapt to the world and slowly begin to imagine and discover methods for storing away the memories of the past and present events. Play fosters the overall development of the learners who may engage in functional play, i.e., simple and repetitive movements with or without an object, and constructive activity – physically manipulating objects in order to construct or create something. This period is marked by the development of language, the use of symbols and egocentric thinking, i.e., failure to distinguish between one’s own point of view and that of another individual. Children at this stage also engage in fantasy play. For the development of beliefs, habits and attitude associated with physical well-being, emotional maturity and proper social orientation, the years of pre-primary and primary education are the most impressionable and formative period of the child’s life. This fact has to be realized in all seriousness by the curriculum designers and practitioners so as to provide appropriate and adequate learning experiences to the learners.”

After a long and painful period of neglect, Government of India promises to devote attention to the issue of preparing all children for primary schooling. The National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy recently approved by the Union Cabinet aims to end the current situation that has led to the mushrooming of crèches, play schools, nursery schools and so on that adhere to no particular standard.

Objectives of the draft policy:

  1. Ensuring adaptive strategies for inclusion of all children
  2. Set out the quality,standards and curriculum framework
  3. To promote strong partnerships with communities and families in order to improve the quality of development.
  4. To promote professionalism in the field
  5. To promote, reinforce and safeguard quality services for all young children for systematic development.

We expect that very soon we will have a national council to establish guidelines for standardisation of teaching and learning aids, trained manpower, sanitation and hygiene norms in play schools and day care centres. Some of the proposed guidelines are as follows:

  1. 3-4 hours. of learning
  2. At least 35 square meters classroom for a group of 30 children
  3. At least 30 square meters of outdoor space
  4. Structurally safe building
  5. Easy approach, cleanliness and green areas
  6. Clean Water arrangements
  7. First aid/medical kit availability
  8. Learning material and teaching aids
  9. Quality check on meals and nap time
  10. Teachers student ratio is 1:20 for three to six years and 1:10 under the age of three years.

Gyankriti has initiated “preschool chale hum” campaign to create awareness for high-quality early education. We will promote it through various events in Indore.

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

हिंदी अनुवाद: http://www.gyankriti.com/blog/2/