Expert View

PRESCHOOL EDUCATION IS NOT A PARACETAMOL

Pritam Kumar Agrawal, Founder, Hello Kids Chain of Preschools

By: Pritam Kumar Agrawal, Founder & Director, Hello Kids Chain of Play Schools and Riverstone Schools.

Preschool education or more precisely speaking, the early childhood education is the most ignored phase of education by the larger sections of the population. This negligence emanates from the mere ignorance about the necessity and importance of early childhood education and care. Also, the role played by the professional early childhood centres or the preschools cannot be cope up by the largely practiced unprofessional  alternatives. Lack of preschooling or the inefficiency of unprofessional alternatives badly affects the kid’s emotional well-being in addition to the deprival of a cognitive development and support for the child’s brain development, physical grooming and social skills. Hence, the early years of a kid should be taken care of ensuring the overall development of child through proper education from professional preschools and open the doors of real world for them.

Lack of awareness about the brain development or the development of the command centre of our whole system might be a probable reason for the negligence people shows towards pre-schooling. Research statistics and papers proves that the brain development of a human takes place the most during the period from birth to age of five. Moreover studies also highlights this point that early brain development maintains an enduring impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in academics and extra-curricular activities at school and also in life. Hence, be more vigilant about the nature and quality of experiences a kid have in the initial few years of life because be it good or bad, positive or negative- they does play a role in shaping  the brain development and hence be cautious to give them positive and happy experiences.

A comparative analysis if done between our nation India and other countries, we can observe huge differences in case of the exposure of kids to early childhood education and care. This may be due to the ignorance about the necessity and importance of early childhood education, lack of infrastructure facilities, lack of access to preschools or inefficiency or negligence from the side of respective governments in the same. In certain least developed nations facing acute poverty, the poverty itself stands as the major hurdle because it’s more necessary to feed the stomachs before schooling. However, there are many nations who does exceptionally well and serve as role models and ushers in the inspiration to do well in the early childhood care and education like USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Fiji and New Zealand..

India hopefully is in its way to a new era of education which gives impetus and relevance to the much deserving and equally avoided phase – Early childhood education through the National Education Policy 2020. This policy has planted the seeds of hope much before and it’s in the year 2020 that the seeds has sprouted and not very late we will see a full-fledged preschool industry and bunches of happy faces of kids going to preschools and thereby we can relax with the hope of having these happy faces turning out as tomorrow’s successful and  responsible  adult citizens of the nation- in simple words, promising future generations.

Remember that early childhood education is unequivocally a very important phase of the whole journey of education process and is indispensable “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” which is the Sustainable Development Goal 4 prescribed by United Nations says.

It’s equally interesting and also is a beacon that some countries did rather to create a separate ministry exclusively devoted for early childhood education and care. How thoughtful is that!

Many families unfortunately forecasted a quick pass out of the global pandemic and expected everything to get back to normal soon that they didn’t care to admit their kids in online pre-schooling. Thus many kids lost a year of preschooling or that a year of instant brain growth just shredded off without enough care and proper education. This is unpayable loss for them. We are in the midst of the second wave of the Covid pandemic and is also hovered under the insecurities and threat of several other communicable and dangerous diseases. Hence, we only have the luxury to just hope that things get back to normal soon and the need of the hour is to resort to adaptable options before us. Online preschooling is hence the possible and indispensable resort and please grab it wisely to ensure the proper development and well-being of kids. Also, prioritize the online classes from those schools where you can admit your child offline once the pandemic recedes to stay in touch with coordination and pedagogy followed.

Before the passage of NEP 2020 people were even more unaware of the role of preschools and were least serious about the kids going to preschools. Hence initial five years that involves the most fast and wider development was deprived for numerous kids. Moreover this pandemic also led to lot of kids losing a year or two of their education in their early years. This ignorance takes toll on the overall development of kids and is observed through many studies as to affecting 30-40% of the brain development of a child. This loss or negative impact on brain development cannot be cured with any medication and these studies enlighten us that preschool is not a paracetamol but an irreplicable essential of life.

Early childhood education is as necessary and essential as food, air and water as this is a value addition to the overall growth of a child which stands responsible for a quality life. Since the roll out of vaccines and reopening of offline education takes considerable time, it’s not time to wait and deliberate rather to choose wisely an appropriate preschool for your child ensuring that the child can be sent later physically when offline classes starts. Online blended learning and the care and activities cannot be guaranteed by the newly sprouted child care channels with catchy labels which might snitch your trust about a healthy development of kid promised by them. But try to choose wisely when it’s about the education of kids and enrol them in professional preschools, say Pritam Kumar Agrawal, Founder & Director of Hello Kids Chain of Play Schools and Riverstone Schools.

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