All Play and No Work …is a NO
As most parents are aware pre-school is a transitional phase of education from home to school.It is a child’s first foray into formal education away from the safe sanctuary of their home.In my daughter’s brief stint in India ,since she was all of three I had enrolled my daughter at a renowned Montessori school which proclaimed to practice Maria Montessori’s play-way method of teaching children.The authorities at the time of admission assured me that all pass-outs of their school were bound to receive admission in the most well-reputed schools that the city had.For the ignorants in India school admissions are not regulated by the principle of compulsory admission of children in their local schools but a merit system where only the children who can prove their mettle through a process of interview- sometimes of the kid,or of the parents or of both.Their is also a discreet practice of providing and accepting donations but lets not tread there.
Through a unique practice,parents were offered a chance to spend an hour each for the first three days observing their child.A large classroom was divided into two sections which had two different groups of teacher-children on two sides.Each section had some toys and books in shelves along the walls.Children between the age of 2 .5 and 5.5 were sitting in a circle.My daughter was way too unruly to be sitting in a circle and often scampering off to play with the toys unoblivious to all that was going on around her.In the next 3 days the curriculum came to light.basically each day the pattern was:-
- a prayer song
- singing 2-3 nursery rhymes with action
- colouring for children of my daughter’s age
- writing for those of 5 and above
- a music class 1 day a week where children were taken to a room outside the school building and shown some nursery rhymes on a huge projector and sometimes the danced too.
As the child seemed adjusted their school hours would gradually increase to mid noon.Those kids not shedding their homesickness or ‘crying for mommy’ syndrome would be dismissed early.After about 3 months one fine day my daughter returned from school with her grandad with a message from the teacher.Looks like I was not being a good mommy as my daughter could not identify the english alphabets,tell her numbers or show any interest in holding a pencil.What a shame for me as a mother!
From a careless mother I suddenly became a super-hyper-stressed out mother.Everyday was a battle between me and my kid to make her into a somewhat acceptable student of the esteemed school.It seemed my left handed daughter simply would not take to the pencil.Somehow we managed to finish her homework.Not to forget everyday was a,’I dont want to go to school day”.One day she even came to school crying that her teacher had hit her.That was the last straw. Various thoughts began to surface in my head of taking her off the roll,outright accusing her teacher or even getting in touch with the media.Although none of it happened as the teacher was too polite a person and it could also be one of the various help teachers around.Well to be honest being a intuitive person I knew an accusation of that magnitude might not go down too well for my daughter’s future.My intuition was right when the same happened with my friend’s son it ended with-
- a screaming row between her and the teacher
- her and the principal
- class got changed
- invitation to leave school
Well not to forget the various telephonic calls I had with her teacher telling me of a missed homework,a complete lack of interest in her writing lessons.Well for those wondering if my daughter was a freak you need to know that there were queues outside the school everyday of parents on summon. Finally it was my daughter’s last day of school I was again informed she had no wish to write but the teacher had been kind to let go of her.It is kindness indeed.Although I left a content mother as my daughter
- could now trace on all the letters,
- knew about 4 nursery rhymes by heart
- could tell her numbers from 1-11
- could draw well
I even made a solemn promise to myself to keep up with her training .I was a determined mother to guide my daughter to the right career.At least my daughter had her ideas in place which she had once shared with us
Me:What would you like to become?
DD:I will become a doctor.
Granddad:Really?..First learn your numbers .
DD:No first get me a doctor’s set..then.
Now 9 months later since my dd joined her school it was finally time to leave for newer shores.We were going Down Under but by no means had I forgotten to pack her numerous school text books and writing books.I was going to help my daughter keep up her progress.What else was a mother really for?
(This is part 1 of 2 parts in the blog ‘Pre-Schools-A World apart’.This is also a part in the series Manic Monday.)