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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pre-school is not a school for killing time

Pre-school, the school for 3-6 years, is still regarded as a school that will help a child to spend time away from the house. As one of the woman parent told me ' I am unable to do anything when my child is at home. Only when she is in the school for 3 hours, can I do something constructive'.

This view - that pre-school is only meant to kill time - is shared by parents across different strata. Parents in a modern city like Bangalore share this view as strongly as the parents in a small city like Dharwad and Belgaum. Even education does not make a difference. Educated parents and uneducated parents both believe that pre-school is meant to keep the child physically active. Even language and culture does not matter. Parents in Mumbai and Delhi both believe that pre-school is just a 'preparation for the final school'; not a real school.

Parents therefore expect very little from pre-school. They expect pre-school to help their child play with toys. Or engage with other children in playing group games. Or learn rhymes like 'Jack and Jill went up the hill'. Or celebrate 'birthdays' with other children. Or participate in 'Annual days'. Or run on the sports day. Or participate in fancy dress.

At the most, parents expect children to learn something as a bonus. They expect the preschool to teach their children 1-100 or A to Z, at the most. They want pre-school to help their children to imbibe social grace and answer questions such as "What is your name" or "What is the name of your school", because it will help their child get dmission in a ' real school' in the first class.

So when these parents hear that Montessori method helps their children 'develop', they do not believe it; because they think that it is not possible to help develop a child at 3 years. When they see children of 3-4, they see children as irresponsible, undisciplined, unruly and noisy. When they try to help them 'eat food', they refuse help. When they 'tell' them to stay silent for a while, they make 'noise'. How can a child of age 3 helped to develop?

When Dr. Montessori first discovered that a child can behave differently in 1907 ( in her first school in Italy),  if proper 'development environment' is provided to him, everyone was surprised. She discovered that a 'child' can concentrate on an activity, not just for 10 minutes, but also for 30 minutes if proper activity is given to him. She found out that a child can also learn to have 'patience to wait', if the environment is primed for it. She discovered that a child can 'choose' his set of activities, if he is given appropriate practice to do so. She found out that a child of 4 can help other child of 3, if the children of his age are around him. In other words, with proper environment and scientific help ( done through Montessori method), a child can be helped to develop 'habits' that can prepare the foundation of his personality by the age of 6. Dr Montessori discovered that pre-school is the real school, where the foundation of child's personality is created.

Many parents in Italy could not believe what they saw in 1907. It took 50 years for American parents to learn that Montessori method is 'scientifically right'**. Even In India, Montessori schools are not known beyond Bangalore and Chennai, even when Dr Montessori was in India for 9 years from 1939.

I know that it is difficult to believe that a child can be developed till the age of 6. But do you want your child to miss an opportunity because you find it difficult to believe. Do you want your child to miss his  'development' because you could not understand the magic of child development? Do you want to blindly follow other parents and put your child in a play school, because you think that is the most a child can do ?

Or do you want to benefit from a 100-year old Montessori method of child development ? Do you want to learn more about Montessori method that can help your child grow 'better'? Do you want to take the 'pain and effort' to understand child development and help your child with your 'open eyes'?

However, if you want to give the best to your child, you will have to understand child development. Using  home grown recipes of child development will not help you any more. You will have to understand the magic of child development, by asking questions and verifying evidence. You cannot just rely on someone, because your child's future is at stake.

If you do not want to waste these 3 years of your child between 3 to 6 years of age, we can help you. 

** This book of Angelina Lillard ( Montessori Method: The science behind the genius ) explains why Montessori method works.

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