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How to find a good play school for your child?

As your child grows up, its important to plan for child’s preschool. Once your child is ready for play school, it’s time you to start your search for a good play school program. It’s always better to start your hunt for school early rather than wait. Many parents apply for good play school as soon as their child is born.

Once you’ve identified a few good play schools, apply to all of them in order. Most of the franchise based play schools in India take admission throughout the year. To find the best program for your child, you can follow the below steps.

Identify the parameters based on priority

First, decide what you want.
Convenience : Are you looking for a play school near your workplace, or would one closer to your home be more convenient?
Curriculum : Are you looking for a specific approach to learning? There are many of them like Montessori, Reggio Amelia, etc
Faculty / Support Staff : If you have any preference for faculty / staff of school?

Infrastructure: Is the school well-built? Are there enough space and not congested? etc

Write down the parameters in the order of your own priority, so that you have a list to refer to as you evaluate different programs.

Do your own research for  better understanding.

Search for different play schools at www.GoGuruCool.com sitting at your home or work location. Get the contact information and reviews for different schools from GoGuruCool.com .

You can ask a few basic questions over the phone w.r.t. fees or admissions, but you won’t get a good idea of what a preschool is really like until you go there. Visit the school in person and with your child, to meet the staff. It will also give you a good idea w.r.t. your convenience and locality of school.

Visit to the play school

When you visit the classrooms, check the teacher-child ratios and note how many children are in a classroom. Typical, recommendation for 2 to 3-year-old kids is in groups of no more than 18, with at least two teachers. For 3 to 4-year-old kids, we recommend groups of 20 or fewer, again with at least two teachers. As many as 20,  5-year-olds can be in a class with two or more teachers. It’s much easier to give a proper care and one-on-one attention along with having a better responsiveness when there are fewer kids in a class room.

Ask the director about everything from hours, fees, and vacation schedules to philosophies.Trust your gut feeling about the place and notice how the director handles your questions.

Observe how the teachers interact with the kids: Make sure they’re friendly, caring, and encouraging. You’ll also want a challenging curriculum, experienced teachers (who are paid well and satisfied with their job), and an environment that’s warm, clean, and safe.

Ask about staff turnover (This is very important). If the teachers change every six months, move on. Children need consistency and the opportunity to form strong relationships with their caregivers, so you don’t want a preschool where teachers come and go.

Ultimately, choosing a preschool is a personal decision. If, after visiting a preschool, you love the idea of your child going there, it’s probably the right place for you.

Check references

Positive word of mouth is a powerful endorsement. If a preschool has a certain buzz, ask parents what they like about it. You may even consider asking few schools, which you’re considering for a list of few parents whose children have attended the school. Call them and ask specific questions. Don’t just ask whether they like the preschool: Ask exactly what they like about it and what they don’t. If their child no longer goes to the school, ask why.

Let Kid also feel it

That way you can see how he and the teachers interact and whether he seems comfortable in the preschool environment. Do the teachers seem interested in getting to know your child? Does he enjoy the activities?

Apply

If the preschool of your choice has no openings, don’t feel bad. Put yourself on the waiting list, and while you’re at it, write a letter explaining why you like the school so much. It won’t guarantee you a place, but it can’t hurt to let the school know how enthusiastic you are about the program.

In the meantime, if you’ve applied to more than one school, it’s likely you’ll have other options to consider.

Education : The Most Powerful Weapon

“Education is the most POWERFUL WEAPON which we can use to CHANGE THE WORLD.” – Nelson Mandela

Education is the most powerful weapon in the world; People assume education is schooling, graduation and job guarantee, the fact is way beyond that.
Last week in most of the social media parents were discussing about good-safe schools, syllabus extra curricular actives and much more; but none of them have thought what type of education does the child need. Every parent should understand what kind of learning is required for a child. Education doesn’t mean a good schooling, scoring good marks, settling in life with a good job. Education is which teaches to be kind, tells difference between right & wrong and helps to tone correct attitude making us a better human being.
Is this type of education being imparted these days. Why schools only are we parents imparting this basic education to our kidz?
An unfortunate incident that happened recently might happen anywhere on the earth to anyone. But blaming the society, culprits, our parliament and on top of it our national leaders will not reap any result. Results can be seen in deeds not in words. Today we will fight for punishing one culprit but tomorrow maybe 10 more would be born. Our fight is and should always be for stricter laws for our safety which should be implemented properly without numerous visits to police station and courts.
We need “A law” which should shake the culprits before they think about the crime. A law to punish the culprit immediately after medical examination of the victim, without any court trials. A law which is same regardless of a king or a pauper.
Schools these days will send out a letter to parents informing them that they’re teaching good and bad touch to kids in school and make news for some time for such a good approach. But is that enough? Being a parent are you satisfied with this approach and do you really think this is what it has to be? I am a mother and no matter I have a boy or a girl, no one is safe. When we being adults are not safe in today’s society in our own house, then how do we expect and ensure our kids are safe.The answer lies in our education system which has to change their approach towards children; we should focus more on interpersonal skills and analogy of right and wrong attitude. Gratitude should be part of the children nature, these elements are important for any growing child.
Most of the schools are missing child psychology counseling in Indian education system. Neither child psychology nor psychology has made an impact in the main stream education system as mandatory subjects.
But what is our work as parents, School Owners, as citizens of this country? It is to make them aware of interpersonal skills and do activities which makes kids use their common sense in a right way, to teach them about the mental trauma a victim undergoes when an unfortunate incident happens and to understand someone else pain and be supportive.
These things might sound just another piece of news, but when we make them as a practice in our daily life for our children and young youth, we can dodge crimes in India. Off late Rape has been a bad trend. We all need to raise our voice and stop this unkindness which is running fast in the society. Think about it and let’s educate our kids who are this country’s future a right attitude to be a good human being.

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Guest post by :

Ash Singh

Founder Director

Creative Kidz, Bangalore

Creative Kidz

 

(DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.)

Children’s Day

14th November is celebrated as “Children’s Day” in all over India. Children’s Day is called as ‘Bal Divas’ in Hindi. It is celebrated in memory of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India, to mark his birthday. He was very much fond of children and love them too. Although the United Nation Organisations’ (UNO) Universal Children’s Day, is celebrated on 20th of November every year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide.

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” –  John F. Kennedy

Children's_Day

Why do we celebrate Children’s Day?

Children’s Day celebration is the tribute to childhood memories, which are sweetest of all. They can be savoured for a lifetime. Children’s day celebration is fun for the little ones but it is also important for the parents. Every parent must understand the importance of the children’s day. Parents should be well aware about the little desires of their little angels.

The values and disciplines learned as a child are responsible for the kind of adulthood one has. Thus, childhood is special and should be celebrated.

In India, we prefer celebrating it on the 14th of November, to honour our very own Chacha Nehru. Chacha Nehru is  known for his love towards children. All over the world Children’s Day might be celebrated on varied dates for various reasons. However, the importance or the prime focus remains the same “Children”. Remember, childhood can be experienced only once in a lifetime and who else will know this better than the adults. So let’s make a difference, let’s make children happy not only today but everyday.

How Children’s Day is celebrated in India?

Every year on Children’s Day all the educational institutions and residential communities conduct a  number of innovative and fun filled activities focusing on children, a platform for them to learn something new,  showcase their talent and have a good time.

Various competitions like poems, dance and feast is organized by playschools and communities to mark the event and make this day a memorable one. Additionally, the events and activities of Children’s Day festival also focus to identify the education, recreation, health, cultural, economic and social needs of children.

“Bal Divas” is to remind all young and adults about children’s right to enjoy their childhood without any boundaries and to be educated adult in the future. Children’s Day is to revise the right methods of raising children.

We cannot hide the fact that many children in India are not getting basic privileges including education. Many children are working as child laborers instead of playing with toys. Children should not have to work for a living. Childhood is when a person needs nurturing, schooling, time to play and explore the opportunity to grow both emotionally and physically. When a child is forced to work, this hampers his growth, stunts his psychological and intellectual development, and prevents him from realizing his full potential. Everyone would want to see them nurtured in a healthy & safe environment. Child labor is an unmitigated evil and any society which suffers from it should be grossly ashamed of it. Unfortunately, The reality in the streets is far from ideal.

Ways you can celebrate Children’s Day

Some of the things that you can do in your residential society or educational institution to  celebrate this momentous day are:

  • Distribute gifts and chocolates to the children.
  • Organize various competitions such as fancy dress, storytelling, debates and quizzes.
  • Various cultural, social programs such as singing, dancing, playing instruments etc.
  • You can also take an initiative to help underprivileged or orphan children by donating clothes, toys, stationery, books, etc.
  • Pamper them on this special day by taking them for an outing, to a place they wish to visit.
  • Theme Party for their buddies, thereby getting closer to each other.
  • Organize some shows like Hire a local magician to entertain the kids for sometime.
  • Arrange games like treasure hunt, One minute, puzzle etc.
  • A Party for underprivileged children. If this is done in every neighbourhood, imagine how many smiles there will be across the nation.

Happy Children’s Day!

Reggio Emilia Approach

Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education, adopted by scores of preschools across the world.

Reggio MapThe Reggio Approach derives its name from its place of origin, Reggio Emilia, a city located in Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy. Shortly after World War II, Loris Malaguzzi, a young teacher and the founder of this unique system, joined forces with the parents of this region to provide childcare for young children.The destruction from the war, as parents believed, necessitated a new, quick approach to teach their children.They felt that it is in the early years of development that child formation start. This led to creation of a program based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.

Curriculum: There is no set curriculum in a Reggio-Inspired preschool. Rather, the curriculum is open to all possibilities, with topics for exploration based on the interests of the class. This is sometimes referred to as Emergent Curriculum, the Project Approach, or Inquiry Based Learning. A Reggio-Inspired preschool looks and operates much differently from other preschools, with the curriculum driven by the children instead of being teacher-directed.

Fundamentals of the Reggio Emilia approach

  • The child as an active participant in learning.

At the heart of this philosophy is a powerful image of the child. Reggio educators do not see children as empty vessels that require filling with facts. Rather, they see children as full of potential, competent and capable of building their own theories.The approach credits children with inborn abilities and potential as well as strength and creativity. Students should be allowed to follow their own interests, but given structure and feedback. For example students show an interest in building. To make it a learning experience, building materials are brought into the classroom. While exploring how to build construct something, children are given the opportunity to reinforce math skills, problem-solving, and emerging literacy – all in relationship to a hands-on project they have initiated.

  • The significance of environment

As a consequence of the above, students need to be surrounded by the materials that will allow them to investigate. The surrounding physical environment is crucial to the Reggio Emilia’s early childhood programme, and is often referred to as the child’s “third teacher.” It should be a filled with materials such as clay, paint, and writing implements that allow hands on, investigative learning.

  • The teacher, parent, and child as collaborators in the process of learning.

In Reggio Emilia, parents should be an integral part of the school and the learning process. Learning does not begin and end at the school gates, rather it’s continuous. A Reggio school not only has an open-to-parents approach, but parents are actually encouraged to participate in school activities. They can come to the school and tell a story, involve themselves in circle time, social time or even physical education time, actually just about everything that a teacher does. A sign of this should be how many parent activities are included as part of the school curricula.

  • Making learning visible.

Perhaps the most intensive part of the teaching process is that in order to be effective, learning has to be documented. Documentation is a key element in the Reggio Approach and allows the teacher to track what children are doing, learning and grasping. It is a reflection of interactions between teachers and children and among children.

Documenting children’s experiences and ongoing projects gives meaning and identity to all that the children do. It is through the documentation that the teachers are able to gain insight into the thoughts of the children, create a history of the work and generate further interest.

Reggio teachers are skilled observers of children. If a teacher observes closely she can see the intelligence on a child’s face. Teachers use a variety of documentation methods, such as cameras, tape recorders, and journals, to track children’s thoughts and ideas as they play together or work with material.In a Reggio school, it is done on a daily basis.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the festival which is celebrated in various parts of India, Nepal, Fiji and other countries across the world. The festival, also known as Ganesh Utsav (“festival of Ganesha”) is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the son of “Shiva” and “Parvati”. Ganesh Chaturthi falls in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the Shukla Chaturthi. The date usually comes between 19 August and 20 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi. “Jai Mangal Murti” enchantment is heard in all surroundings. Guess! It isn’t always held in a temple premises but in some preschool campuses, schools, homes, hotels etc.

Tiny tots from all the classes gather together for the aarti and sing in the praise of Lord Ganesha. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated by the pre-primary students with great enthusiasm. The students make different forms of Ganesha using rangoli, sand, paper crumpling and saw dust, sequins and glitter. It is the same time when the cutest little God comes to everyone’s home.The Hindus believe that on Ganesha Chaturthi, Lord Ganesha will come to their houses and will take away all their troubles. Lord Ganesha is the cutest, chubbiest and friendliest Gods of all. He is also worshiped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. Children are especially fascinated with the form of Ganesha because his head is of an elephant.

There is a very interesting story about how did Ganesha got an elephant’s head. Once Goddess Parvati told her son Ganesha to guard the cave and let no one to come in while she was inside. When Shiva, her husband returned, he was surprised that Ganesha was not allowing him to enter and struck off the boy’s head in anger. Parvati was inconsolable so Shiva sent out his troop(gana) to get the head of any sleeping being who was facing the north. The ganas found a sleeping elephant and brought back its severed head, which was then attached to the body of the boy. This boy was none other then our Lord Ganesha, who was also named as “Ganapati” as he became the leader of the ganas.

 

After Ganesh Chaturthi, Ganapati is worshiped for 10 days and on the 11th day he is immersed in water (called visarjan). By doing this people believe that he goes back to Kailash and take all of our troubles with him. So what are you waiting for, this Ganesh Chaturthi, bring Lord Ganesha to your home, feed him Ladoos ( or modakas) and forget all your troubles.

Ganesh and Kubera (Story)

Kubera, the god of wealth, was very proud of his boundless fortune. One day, he organized a gorgeous dinner; among other famous guests, the divine couple, Shiva and

Bal Ganesh

Parvati, with their son Ganesh, were also present. Bal Ganesha (Baby Ganesha) started to eat and he appeared to be insatiable. Soon, the other guests found plates and dishes empty. Alas ! Not satisfied with all the available food, Ganesh started to devour plates and dishes, the furniture and all the content of Alakapuri, the main city of Kubera.
When he achieved to gulp down the whole, the child Ganesh threatened to swallow Kubera himself. Frightened, the god of wealth rushed forward to Shiva’s feet to implore his help, as the Ganesha’s voracious appetite seemed to be unlimited. The remedy was simple but spectacular. Shiva gave his son a handful of roasted cereal grains. Ganesh ate it and, wonderfully, his hunger stopped immediately.

This legend teaches us that a handful of common food, given with love, and eaten with devotion, is more important and more sustaining than the banquet offered by Kubera to impress the gods.This story shows that wealth cannot bring peace and satisfaction to anybody. The only path to self-realization requires to burn our greed.

The Wisdom of Ganesh (Story)

www.balganesh.comShiva & Parvati used to play with two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya. The gods had given them a marvelous fruit. Each boy wanted to get it for him alone. Their parents explained them that the nectar of the Supreme Knowledge and of Immortality was hidden in that fruit. To get the fruit, both had to compete. The winner should run three times around the world and come back first. Kartikeya left at once. Riding on his peacock, he flew in the sky, stopping at every sacred place on his way, praying and worshiping the gods. Ganesha was fully aware of his stout body; it slackened off him badly. The rat, his vehicle, was rather slow and would not be able to beat Kartikeya. But his wisdom suggested him the right solution. He turned round his parents, Shiva and Parvati, three times showing a deep devotion. When they asked him why he did not start his journey around the world, he replied :

“My parents, Shiva and Parvati, are the Whole Universe. In them the whole world is located. He need not go further”.

Of course, he won the contest, … and the fruit. This legend emphasizes the importance of his cleverness and wisdom. Ganesha is a strong symbol of this quality.

Movies

Bal Ganesh Few Movies are also made on Ganesha specially for kids. May be a good idea to show your kids some of these movies.

Please post any activity your kid did during Ganesha Chaturthi in comments section which you would like to share.

Montessori Approach Of Education

Mary Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessor

Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori and characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Montessori system of education is both a philosophy of child development and a rationale for guiding such growth. Dr. Montessori’s Method has been time-tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world.

Montessori education is practiced in an estimated 7,000 schools worldwide, serving children from birth to eighteen years old. Although a range of practices exists under the name “Montessori”, the Association Montessori International (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) cite these elements as essential:

• Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 3 to 6 years old by far the most common
• Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
• Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours
• A Constructivist or “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
• Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators
• Freedom of movement within the classroom
• A trained Montessori teacher

Most people understand the Montessori Approach to be one that applies only to the 3-6 age group. While Montessori schools operating the 3-6 age group are certainly the most common, Dr. Montessori’s work had spanned the entire period of human development from birth to the age of twenty-four. These are split into the developmental planes of 0-6, 6-12, 12-18 and 18-24.
The central principle in the Montessori Approach is that of using education as an aid to life. And the effectiveness of the approach comes from the fact that the principles of the Montessori Approach go hand in hand with the child’s own natural development stages. Montessori classrooms are referred to as prepared environments which provide children an atmosphere where they can choose the work they wish to pursue and allow them the freedom to develop at their own pace. In this work, the children are guided by a trained adult.
The classrooms also contain specially designed materials which help them in their path of exploration and in developing specific skills, be they in language, mathematics, sensorial development or in activities of practical life. By having mixed age groups in classrooms, the children also have access to a holistic social environment where they can all grow and develop at their own pace.
The concepts that have been touched on here like the prepared environment, the aspect of freedom and the mixed age groups are common across all four developmental planes, although the practice would vary widely to take into account the stage of development the child is in.

References :-

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori_education