Mumbai: On Children’s Day, educator and founder of the TreeHouse chain of schools, Rajesh Bhatia recommends four holistic choices
Educator and founder of the TreeHouse chain of schools, Rajesh Bhatia believes preschool training significantly contributes to a child’s academic readiness and school preparation. He says, “On Children’s Day, I particularly want to remind parents to carefully select the first educational experience of their children as this will lay the foundation for the academic journey that will follow.” He recommends four optimal approaches that can effectively nurture the social skills and cognitive development of young learners.
The Play Way Method
As Fred Donaldson, the creator of an innovative program called Original Play, aptly states, “Children learn as they play; most importantly, in play, children learn how to learn.” Similarly, the Play Way method positions children at the core of their learning journey, resembling hands-on learning, where kids explore their surroundings and interact with objects to acquire knowledge. This approach recognises the innate curiosity of children, encouraging them to discover through fun, creativity, and problem-solving. Moreover, it provides a valuable platform for social development as children learn to share, cooperate, and communicate with their friends.
The Waldorf Method
The Waldorf Method stands as one of the widely embraced approaches to learning, with over 1100 schools in more than 75 countries and more than 2000 early childhood programs spanning six continents adopting this method. Rooted in the childhood development theory formulated by Rudolf Steiner, the Waldorf Method advocates for learning through artistic and creative means, incorporating elements such as storytelling, music, painting, art, and movement. A key highlight of this method is its emphasis on allowing children to progress at their own pace, mitigating the stress associated with rigid educational benchmarks. Consequently, individuals who undergo the Waldorf Method are poised to develop into independent thinkers and lifelong learners.
The Montessori Method
Italian physician, educator, and innovator Maria Montessori developed this approach with the core idea of “letting children learn naturally.” The Montessori Method empowers children to take control of their education through hands-on, self-directed learning. Providing them with tools and resources enables the exploration of their passions and overcoming challenges. This individualized learning method cultivates essential skills, propelling children toward a future of continuous discovery and learning. Moreover, this approach fosters self-discipline, independence, and positive self-esteem in children.
Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in the Finnish Education System
Finland’s education system is globally acclaimed as one of the best. Preschool education in Finland is rooted in the belief that childhood is a precious period of life, and they regard children as individuals and whole persons. The Finnish Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) program is renowned for emphasising play, social interaction, and individualised learning. Moreover, the Finnish system customises learning for each child, focusing on their unique interests and strengths. This approach establishes a positive learning environment that encourages children to explore, discover, and learn at their own pace.