Pre-schooling has been proven to have multiple benefits, exploring the child’s full potential and giving them an unbreakable foundation for later, more advanced education. However, one of the biggest critiques against pre-schooling is the preschool age, the tender age at which a child is expected to spend time away from his or her mother and father and begin learning.
The average preschool age is usually considered at approximately 2 – 5 years, following which the child enters Kindergarten and begins with regular school. At the MySchool, a prime play school in Lucknow by the reputed Shri Ram Group, this is further segregated in four age-wise divisions: Little Seedlings (18 – 24 months), Curious Saplings (2 – 2.4 years), Perky Buds (2.5 – 3.5 years) and Bright Blossoms (3.5 – 4.5 years). The idea of progressing from one preschool age group to another, much as one progresses one class to another in school, is to gradually get the child used to learning away from their parents, as well as to ensure age-appropriate learning techniques that lets the child establish a firm foundation of understanding before moving onto information of a higher level.
In the first preschool age group, Little Seedlings, the greatest aim is to wean the child of his or her dependency on their parents. The sessions occur only thrice in a week and the presence are required to be present. The session is interactive, involving the parents as well, and focuses on the first, critical few steps of learning, easing the child into physical, mental, emotional and social development. The advantage of having the parents around are to make the child comfortable in the school environment, and interact with his or her new peers and teachers before making them let go of their previous comfort zone.
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The second preschool age group, Curious Saplings, is all about teaching the child how to learn. This is widely play-based. The children learn to structure their day and discipline themselves and learn fine motor skills as well as socio-emotional skills, all by way of games and fun puzzles. Taking advantage of the age group they are at, teaching language and vocabulary skills begins at this preschool age, slightly earlier than the other.
The third preschool age group, Perky Buds, is where learning starts to resemble the higher education that we all recognize, becoming more stream-lined and academic. Pre-reading, pre-writing, pre-math, patterns and puzzles dominate this time, with the intent of aiding the child’s cognitive abilities to learning and shaping their young minds into studying their future subject matter. Another focus of this preschool age is teaching the child social skills, hygiene and personal habits and morality, since at this point the child has developed enough to begin to understand the pros and cons of certain actions.
The fourth and last preschool age group, Bright Blossoms and is more or less like the first year of primary schooling. Different subjects are taught separately and the learning becomes comparatively more theoretical and less play-based. Language, maths and environmental skills are taught at this age, in more detail than they were before. At this point, the aim is not to impart knowledge so much as to develop interest, intellect and curiosity and consequently, let the child reach his or her full potential, not just today but also in his or her future education.