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Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Expert View

Pandemic and Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

By Pritam Kumar Agrawal – Founder & CEO – Hello Kids Chain of Preschools & Riverstone Schools, Bangalore

“When you pay attention to the beginning of the story, you can change the whole story”.

“Preschools and early childhood development centres (ECD) are unique in their educational approach and are among the first to be considered for reopening. In many countries, high quality remote learning for preschoolers has not been possible, especially for marginalized groups, thus while governments can extend schooling online for older children, decision to reopen kindergartens might come before decisions to reopen primary or secondary schools.”

-UNICEF

Though pandemic has collapsed the economy, robbed our dear ones and risk our lives, looking only on the brighter sides we see certain perks of family reunion, parents having more time to spend with their kids, time to learn those skills which we always kept aside because we didn’t had time. But trudging on a year and more of the pandemic, it is now time to be back to work, business and studies in whichever possible manner. And here comes the importance and the help that preschools provide. Let’s just see them.

Like what the founder of Hello Kids chain for preschools, Pritam Kumar Agrawal did, they managed to take care of their students through online classes. As we are getting back to own business and works, co-founder Sunita Jain says that preschools not only support the children but also their parents in enabling them to rejoin their jobs provided their children are engaged and entertained.

Also, considering the covid protocols and safety measures children were deprived of usual games and activities, time to spend with their friends and their fun sessions at school like the rhymes, songs, story time.. We must appreciate the preschools who arranged the online sessions for kids so that though not physically but virtually at least they are not let alone. They continue to get entertained and taught through our online sessions, say Pritam Agarwal and Sunita Jain. They mentioned that they also included making children aware of the pandemic and how to sanitize their hands and wear masks.. UNICEF mentions about the dual focus of preschools that they provide nurturing care and learning.

As children are inherently vulnerable as they depend on parents and other adults to get done their most basic needs while those adults lack the wherewithal to cope with the immediate, urgent and multiple adaptive demands a pandemic places on their whole lives. And thus children lack this support systems and it can result in unmitigated collapse for the very young. Here comes the preschool as a guardian angel for them. The specially trained montessori teachers, fun segments, meeting their buddies through google meets and zoom windows and also lessons and activities keep them engaged and away from the mind disrupted parents due to the whole pandemic scenario.

Also, from the very young age kids are getting occupied to the latest technologies which is a positive boost in their further educational and professional journey although there are simultaneous possibilities of health implications. Taking note of the health of children, preschools are strategically devising the time slots of classes with limited duration which do not affect them in a negative way.

For every child, early moments matter – as UNICEF says. Their moments are well taken care of and it should be – says Sunita Jain. She quoted what Raffi Cavoukian (singer and founder of Canada’s Centre for Child Honouring) said about early childhood care and education. Raffi Cavoukian said, “When you pay attention to the beginning of the story, you can change the whole story”.

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