Burden on Back and Stress on Mind
Three bags full is the minimum number of bags that children nowadays go with – one for school, one for activities and one for tuition and special classes. As I thought of the need for so many books for a single day, I felt that the emphasis for the students is more on bookish learning rather than practical learning.
Reading and writing are undoubtedly important and key especially when children are younger. But I did change my perspective when I visited schools in the US. Schooling for young children is an experience to nurture young minds.
Children did not tug heavy bags to school. Rather, the focus was on learning things in a fun and practical way. There were experiments conducted in the classroom, outside time spent exploring the different things related to nature, work groups where interaction and socialization is used to measure behavioral aspects.
For me, who had been used to text books, chapter, reading and writing, this was a sensible nut-and-bolt approach to teach children the concepts rather than just memorizing it for the sake of grades.
This feeling intensified as I talked to a 10-year-old who rattled away on the subject of pre-historic period, the civil war, the impact of diseases on earth, the global warming effect etc. She mentioned she liked the “The Martian” book and watched the movie too. I could not remember when I even started talking on these topics.
Similarly, I noticed how a preschooler is taught to focus his/her thoughts on different subjects – language, behavior, music, academic curriculum, sports, dance, creativity. The child is challenged to the next higher level depending on the individual stream or subject that he/she excels in and this helps build the foundation for a strong mind. Building a context and connecting things becomes more important that learning 1000 words and writing 100 words at that age.
An example I found is in a pre-school class where teachers focused on a particular theme for the week – there were pre-decided letter of the week, shape of the week, color of the week, number of the week and word of the week. A ‘show and share’ is conducted every week where children could bring a toy of their own and start ‘connecting’ it with the week’s letters, numbers, shapes, word and color. Not only does this encourage the children to bring in their favorite toys, but motivates them to talk about it by linking the theme of the week. What a wonderful way to start learning!
As a parent I do worry sometimes, that my kids will not be able to cope up with learning unless they read and write from their kindergarten days. But common sense assures me that the exposure, the practical learning, the hands-on experience will make them a better person to deal with the world, and give them a sense of true learning and knowledge.
While, I do believe the type and nature of educating children has by far changed drastically than what I learnt when I was kid; nevertheless, I do question the stress on the child to be “on top of everything”. Parents need some education first on understanding the child’s interests and then choosing the best for them.
Love to hear your thoughts and experiences….
– Arthi S
Founder, Decora India Meet the Writer
You can view this work at http://www.decoraindia.com.