Right To Nature: LKG Curriculum For Life Learning

Here goes the break-up of the life learning curriculum for preschool. After the nursery curriculum of right to play, second up is the Right To Nature, LKG curriculum for life learning.

What is in abundance all around the child? What has the most teaching potential for the child? Also, the most neglected? What is it that will never cease to amaze the child and always keep the inner child alive? What is free, hands-on and amenable to an individual child’s pace? Also, that an adult fails to understand in any manner possible and takes for granted? NATURE.

It feels strange that nature has to be introduced to children, but that’s what it has come to be. Rather, there will be arguments why it is unneeded for kids and is just a silly wasteful idea with no real learning potential. Or maybe the empty boasts that it is/has been done, just that the child is unaware. And, that’s precisely the reason for Right To Nature, the LKG curriculum for life learning.

What Is Nature

Seemingly needless, but it is necessary to agree on what is nature. Else, we, the adults, can very well say that nature is too far and expensive to reach, hence let’s drop the idea. We might as well classify four walls of the classroom as nature, hence the mission accomplished to acquaint kids with nature. Or, call once in a while visit to a manicured lawn of a park/gated community as nature. No, it is not.

Nature does not exist in an isolated faraway place but is all around us. Anything untouched/not invented by mankind is nature. So, all kinds of pollution, air-conditioned buildings, screens, internet, vehicles etc are out. All kinds of plants and trees, insects and bugs, birds and butterflies, clouds and wind, bushes and shrubs, stones and pebbles, clouds and wind, mud and soil are in – Nature.

Why Right To Nature

Right to nature sounds like a theoretical discourse, heavy and hopeless. You may ask – what’s in it for children? This doesn’t make a child school-ready or prepare for the entrance exams. What’s there to learn from buds and blooms, mud and water? No preschool ever has nature in its syllabus. A visit here and there to a park suffices to be called an introduction to nature. So, how does it matter?

What is going to be the existential threat for today’s children in their lifetime? Climate change. What are we leaving as our legacy to future generations? Polluted Earth. We, the adults, have created and perpetuated the problem and we aren’t going to solve it. The solution, if at all, has to come from today’s kids when they go on to become adults themselves.

As adults, apart from lip service, have we learnt anything from nature? Do we consider nature even worthwhile to get involved with, apart from exploitation, of course? We live our lives flouting all the elements of nature. If our kids also happen to be like us, they have had it. We can’t repair the damage we have done to nature, but at the least, we can make our children aware of nature.

Hence, the right to nature, LKG curriculum for life learning. Catch the children young and see them grow and learn with nature, not just for the unit tests 3 years down the line but for the tests of life, 30 years and beyond. And being an ally of nature, all along. This might give them a better chance of survival on Mother Earth.

The Learning From Nature

Nature has enough and more than any man-made curriculum to engage and involve the child and for the kid to learn from and about. Be it the soft skills of compassion and empathy or the hard-wired proficiency in maths and science, nature has it all for the child. What’s more, it is age-appropriate for a preschool kid and will be a life-long companion through adult life.

Difficult to believe? Why do you think we do not feel hurt when we see the trees getting cut? How is it that we care more about the OTT shows but not the air quality we breathe? Why are we fine with a complete lack of native Indian trees around us? Because we weren’t sensitized to nature when we were kids. We missed out on a life-time of learning with plants, i.e. nature.

Imagine a child getting introduced to seeding and seeing a plant grow, tending to an animal who has lost a leg, playing with mud and giving shapes to the thoughts. It is for certain that this child when goes on to become an adult will have superior sensitivities and sensibilities than us, the parents, the adults. Even for the STEM-obsessed, nature has to offer the most, only if given a chance.

 Right To Nature: LKG Curriculum

How to envisage putting the right to nature, LKG curriculum for life learning in action? NCERT preschool curriculum is a letdown, unregulated preschools don’t care and the rigid education establishment won’t see beyond the entrance exams.  The adults are supposed to decide and we don’t have a clue on how to go about it. What and how to introduce kids when we are unaware?

A starting point is to admit our slip, leave kids alone with the elements of nature and hopefully, the learning will come through. There aren’t going to be any worksheets, texts or screens. Yes, a lot of questioning by the kids has to be backed by the all-around efforts by the adults to answer and allow the kids to be hands-on and open-ended, curious and experiential, playful and free.

Unless the right to nature, LKG curriculum for life learning comes through, Mother Earth is going to be scorched with the threats of climate change and so will be the futures of our children.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Right To Play: Nursery Curriculum For Life Learning

Here goes the break-up of the life learning curriculum for preschool. First up is the Right To Play, the nursery curriculum.

This suggestion of the right to play might draw sniggers from few adults. They can say that kids play all the time. What else do children do apart from playing? What’s the novelty if you suggest a right to play as a life learning nursery curriculum? Just another unwanted funky piece of advice, far removed from reality. So, we start with the reasoning.

Why The Right To Play

Open spaces for children to play are a myth in India. Public parks are not safe for children’s independent play. Yes, the gated communities do have some playing areas, but minuscule to the number of kids residing. We would like to believe that kids play, but where’s the place for children to play – freely, uninhibited, unconstrained?

Kids are bundled off to preschools. This lasts for 3/4/5 hours. Add up the transport time, to and fro. Add the preparatory and winding down period, meals, screen time, temper tantrums (remember, they are kids), sleep. We would like to believe that kids play, but where’s the time for kids to play – nonstop, leisurely, easygoing?

Parents are busy working off their backsides. Siblings, if any, are too old and occupied with exams/screens to play with a nursery-going kid. There is hardly a neighbourhood around nowadays. Even if there is one, the time to play for the kids may not match as they have various classes/sessions at different times. With whom do the kids play?

Oh yes, they get to play in preschools. Is there any time left to play after parroting the rhymes, undesired motor-sensory writing practices (reversal of LSRW) and sitting idle in circle time? The preschools charge to make the child school-ready by overwhelming the kid much beyond his/her age. They do not charge for a child’s play and true to it, they won’t let the child play.

Spending time with mind-numbing digital gadgets does not count as play. So, when/where/how do the children play? That’s the reason for the right to play as nursery curriculum.

To Play Is To Learn

Adults can make one round of the house in less than 5 minutes. That’s how adults are – to the point and efficient. Children can’t make one round of the house even in an hour. That’s how children are – all over the place and clumsy. Adults can follow instructions if they want to. Children can also follow instructions if they remember to.

Why the above proclamations? Because we, adults, do not acknowledge that adults and children are wired differently. What works for adults does not work for kids. Else, they would not be children in the first place; rather they would be born adults. Structured and formal instruction-led teaching makes sense to adults, not kids.

Does water/mud, plants/insects, utensils/pillows make sense to adults for hours together? Would adults be interested in pretend play, asking incessant questions and running around? A resounding no. Then, why should kids be interested in worksheets and rote memorization? Why should children be paying attention only with ears when they can engross all their sensory organs and mind?

Learning has dissimilar connotations for parents (adults) and children. For children, to play is to learn. For adults, to play is to squander away the learning. To children, to play is to understand the ways of life, people and world. To adults, a child’s play is a needless charade with no apparent benefit other than keeping the kids away from an adult’s cherished screen time.

One of the greatest services that a parent can ever do to the child is to recognize that to play is to learn.

How/What To Play

Adults ask adult questions. If parents do get convinced about the life learning nursery curriculum – right to play, the next question they will ask is what/how should children play to learn the maximum, to be ahead of the pack, to ace the entrance exams? The children who ask questions all the time will not ask what/how to play.

Therein, lies the answer to what/how to play and also, how adults and children differ. To play is to play. To play, kids do not require any paraphernalia/apparatus/apps/add-ons/instructions. These are the frills of the adults’ world. What the children do need to play are the physical space and the mental freedom. That’s it. The rest is learning all along.

Right to education was the need of a certain time and the well-intentioned adults made a mess out of it. Right to play is the need of a current time and the un-intentioned adults are again making a mess out of it. We have to back up our future generations in ways more than one and the first up, most important for their life learning, is the right to play as nursery curriculum.

What are your thoughts on the right to play for kids as a life learning nursery curriculum?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Guidelines For Private Play Schools In India Are A Dud

This could well be a KBC question. Which Government organization has put up guidelines for regulating private play schools in India? The options are NCERT, CBSE, Ministry of Education, NCPCR. Surprise, surprise, the answer is NCPCR. An obscure organization – the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has published regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India.

NCPCR comes under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and not the Ministry of Education, as one might think. It does not matter though. The general refrain would be that whoever comes up with regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India is fine, as long as they are sensible and delivers for the sake of the children.

Just that, they do not deliver. And, they are also nowhere closer to being the guidelines apart from the name. The guidelines for regulating private play schools in India are outright dud – inept and feckless. Wonder if any play schools or parents are even aware of these so-called guidelines. Not to worry, they won’t miss out on anything significant. That itself is the biggest worry though.

Here are some gems from the regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India:

Anonymous And Undated Document

This is extremely odd and unusual. The Government guidelines are notorious to carry the umpteen names of the officials and their designations who are involved in the drafting and the publishing of the document. There will be 10 different pages of message from the honourable minister, secretary, foreword, development team, acknowledgement etc enough to make a reader stop reading further.

In this particular guideline – there are no names. The Government officials, prone to show their designations and powers, are conspicuous by their absence. Even more weird is that the document is undated. Apart from NCPCR, there is no knowing that this is a Government guideline. It looks like the Government officers knew the shabby job they have done and do not want to be associated with it.

Even this would have been fine if the guidelines would serve the intended purpose. But!!!

Lots And Lots Of Authority But Not Children

The guidelines mention various types of authority – competent being the dominant variant. We are introduced to local, appellate, academic and also the plain vanilla type – only mentioned as the authority. The word “authority” features 46 times in the document. Comparatively, the word “children” comes up 31 times in the guidelines.

This gives the flavour of what’s in focus for the guideline. It is not the children that matter, but the show-off of the all-important “authority”. What is a Government guideline that bears the interest of the subject but not the powers of “authority”? The children have no chance to show up in front of the mighty Government authority.

Even this would have been fine if the authority was sensible enough and put to good effect. But!!!

Where Does The ICDS Come From?

The competent authority is the ICDS officer. Now, from where does ICDS parachutes into the play school regulation? ICDS is the Integrated Child Development Services, launched way back in 1975. ICDS is responsible for Anganwadi, which is where no child should ever be and never actually is, apart from collecting the free food. Anganwadi themselves are a sham, devoid of any regulation.

The Government officers who put up a charade of working for a child’s good and make a complete hash out of it are responsible to regulate play schools!!! This actually would be a well-guarded secret. Not just parents, the play schools too won’t be aware of this. I doubt if even the ICDS officials would know that they are entrusted to regulate play schools.

Even this would have been fine if the guidelines were good to go with. But!!!

The Non-Existent Guidelines

What should be the play school area for the given number of children? What should be the size of the outdoor play area? How much investment is required? What should be training/qualifications for teachers/caregivers? What’s the reference point for equipments, books, toys and other elements? The guidelines offer no answer for the above questions or for that matter, any of the questions.

Sample this. The curriculum will be laid down by the authority (can’t have enough of them) specified by MWCD, GoI with the first objective as conformity with the values enshrined in the Constitution. So, going by this, the NCERT preschool curriculum is null and void (it is a different matter that on its own too, it deserves the same treatment).

If a play school does want to follow the regulatory guidelines, there are none reasonable to follow.

And, this is not fine.

The Saga Continues

The Government’s vain efforts go nowhere to regulate the play schools. The parents pack off their kids to unregulated play schools with unfounded hope. The children miss out on their childhood, not even getting to know the fun and the play of being a child. The play schools flourish with zero accountability to gullible parents and clueless Government with the kids’ lost childhood as casualties.

The saga of letting down the child continues. The current example is the dud NCPCR regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

CBSE Syllabus: Disadvantages For Parents And Children, Advantages For Schools And Publishers

NCERT syllabus is pre-historic and aimless. But, it does exist. CBSE syllabus is even worse off. It is non-existent and a free-for-all. On the face of it, the students seemingly study and of course, get through the entrance exams. However, CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers, are massive.

The Non-Existent CBSE Syllabus

CBSE is the Central Board of Secondary Education, a legacy of the British era, set up in 1929. CBSE’s only responsibility is to conduct exams of XII and X and give affiliation to schools for just these two exams. CBSE does not get into the syllabus. That’s not the job of CBSE at all. It has no say in the syllabus taught in the CBSE affiliated schools.

CBSE does recommend the NCERT syllabus for Board exams, and if there is even one private CBSE-affiliated school that teaches NCERT syllabus then elephants fly, whales walk and birds swim. CBSE has zilch control over the private schools, not just for syllabus but for any purpose – including the fees, teachers’ salaries, management, the weight of school bags etc.

For us, education has become synonymous with exams. The most important exams are the Board exams, XII and X, conducted by CBSE. So, we presume that the syllabus studied for the CBSE exams is the CBSE syllabus. Just that, CBSE has got nothing to do with the syllabus of these exams or for that matter any exam.

CBSE has no association with exams of standards I-IX and XI. Now, because the parents incorrectly presumed the CBSE syllabus for the board exams, the erroneous presumption goes further. And, the syllabus for the other standards also gets called the CBSE syllabus. In reality, the CBSE has no role in the syllabus of I-IX and XI, similar to X and XII.

So, what do the students study? They seem to study quite a lot, after all. Enter the CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers.

Disadvantages For Parents

As adults, parents haggle for discounts all around. When it comes to the child’s syllabus books, there is no discount, only inflated MRPs. The parents’ pay the astronomical sum assuming that the child is getting a quality education and this IS the biggest disadvantage for the parents.

The price of the syllabus in the private CBSE affiliated schools has no link with the learning inside the books. The private publishers’ puts in the stuff irrelevant to the child’s age-appropriateness/real-life learning to make the pages. Simultaneously, they also glaringly miss out on hands-on and experiential life learning syllabus components.

As a result of this purposeless syllabus, the child gets ill-prepared for real life, gets burdened with unnecessary frills and loses out on childhood. And, all the time parents think that their child is being educated. Leave aside value-for-learning as a parents’ notion, the high-priced syllabus is throwing good money for no apparent benefit, rather causing harm to the child.

Advantages For Schools

You get to carry the logo of the Government – CBSE. Nobody will distrust you. You get to flout the CBSE directive of using the NCERT syllabus. Nobody will hold you to task, neither CBSE nor NCERT, rather nobody will even care to know about it. You can sell a syllabus of your liking and at your price. Nobody dares question you.

For the private hospitals, there is a danger of a patient dying and they get bad publicity. For the private schools, there is absolutely no risk. The brain-washed students tell no tales. The gullible parents are at the mercy lest the child’s future will be ruined. No better business in India than running a private CBSE affiliated school.

Advantages For Publishers

There ain’t no regulations, nobody to supervise, no accountability, rather no deliverables, other than the inflated MRPs. The private publishers for the private CBSE affiliated schools have absolute price-control, a monopoly market, loyal customers of unquestioning parents and students, who don’t even know what hit them.

I am not casting any aspersions on private publishers. I am just saying that it is extremely difficult for any business operating in the environment mentioned above to operate in a manner that is beneficial to anyone, other than themselves. There is no incentive at all to let a child be a child and enjoy childhood, rather perverse reasons to burden the child with more and more books.

Disadvantages For Children

The CBSE is pedalling exams, private publishers’ are hawking their syllabus, the schools are merrily collecting their profit margin on the syllabus books, the parents are blissfully unaware that their child has no learning from this purported syllabus. Who the heck is bothered about the child and the child’s learning?

The whole process sucks the childhood out of the children, much before they are ready with no ensuing gain. The kids get locked up in the four walls of the classrooms/screens of the apps as the syllabus keeps multiplying with no learning at the end of it. Can there be any advantages to children in this entire muddle?

The Free-For-All CBSE Syllabus

IGCSE/IB boards endorse their syllabus. CBSE doesn’t bother with such finer points. Hence, the CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers. Of course, the situation is not that dismal as I have made it out to be. It is a work-in-process; we shall surely reach there once, if not now.

We, as a society, care about exams and marks. What importance is a trivial syllabus? CBSE, too, cares about board exams only. What value is getting into a frivolous syllabus? The government of India comes up with a glorious New Education Policy (NEP). Why get hung up about an inconsequential aspect of the syllabus?

In the mean-while, the private publishers and the private CBSE affiliated schools, carry on with their free-for-all syllabus. Our children keep getting educated, wonder how/what is this learning?

What are your views on the subject of the CBSE syllabus disadvantages for parents and children, advantages for schools and publishers?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

CBSE Syllabus: Non-Existent And Free-For-All

The important aspect of a child’s learning is the syllabus that the child studies. The one that is backed by the Government of India, has a pan-India presence and sets the benchmark is the CBSE syllabus. A parent would presume that the study of the CBSE syllabus leads to success for students in entrance exams. Well, it is spectacularly off the mark. There is nothing called a CBSE syllabus.

CBSE Syllabus: Non-Existent

CBSE is the Central Board of Secondary Education. It was set up by the British in 1929 and is a legacy of the colonial era. CBSE was reconstituted in 1962 and was given the task of instituting an all India Higher Secondary Examination setting up a model that the State Boards might emulate and meet the needs of students whose parents moved from one state to another. That’s about it.

The CBSE’s only responsibility is to conduct exams of XII and X. Now, to conduct exams, students are needed. The schools have the students. So, the CBSE gives affiliations to schools for their students to appear for XII and X – the so-called Board exams. Hence, CBSE’s tasks become two – conducting the two Board exams and giving affiliation to schools for these two exams.

CBSE does not get into the syllabus. That’s not the job of CBSE at all. The tab of the syllabus on CBSE’s website leads to NCERT’s website. For parents, education has become synonymous with exams. The most important exams are the Board exams, which are the CBSE exams. So, we presume that the syllabus studied for the CBSE exams is the CBSE syllabus, which is a misnomer.

It gets even trickier for the standards I-IX. CBSE has got nothing to do with exams of all these. Now, because the parents incorrectly presumed the CBSE syllabus for the board exams, the erroneous presumption goes further. And, the syllabus for the other standards also gets called the CBSE syllabus. In reality, the CBSE has no role in the syllabus or the exams of I-IX.

The Broken Link Of CBSE – Affiliated Schools – NCERT

A parent might think that CBSE is prescribing the NCERT syllabus, which is also a Government of India agency, so it’s fine calling it a CBSE syllabus. After all, what’s in a name? Therein lies the catch. The CBSE recommends the NCERT syllabus. But, the schools don’t need to follow the same.

Wait a moment. This is getting confusing. The schools are CBSE schools and it is expected that they follow a CBSE, ok ok, an NCERT syllabus. And, that CBSE schools are not doing it!!! Well, the base assumption itself is incorrect that these schools are CBSE schools. To be precise, these are CBSE-affiliated schools.

A CBSE-affiliated school means that its students are eligible for CBSE Board exams. That’s it. Nothing more. CBSE has got nothing to do with the fees/academics/functioning of the school in any manner. Yes, CBSE does prescribe the NCERT syllabus. However, the school’s autonomy means that it is free to choose its pedagogical tools and every school does absolutely that.

CBSE lays down affiliation bye-laws and has certain infrastructure requirements. But, it is not compulsory for the schools to follow the NCERT syllabus. Also, CBSE has no control over the school’s management. Rather, the CBSE and the school are unrelated till the X Board exam. So, the school is free to choose its own syllabus. And this is never the NCERT syllabus.

CBSE Syllabus: A Free-For-All

Then, what do the students study in CBSE-affiliated schools? After all, they seem to study quite a lot. And, why can’t it be called a CBSE syllabus?

Several publishers come up with textbooks that are taught in these CBSE-affiliated schools. Each publisher has its own interpretation of the NCERT textbooks and what they want the children to study. The linkage with NCERT is slack and these publishers tend to cover stuff well beyond the NCERT textbooks. They are not bound by the curriculum framework or any such paraphernalia.

As all these publishers have separate versions, with few things in common and few not so, it is chaos. It is a free-for-all. There is no binding together of these disparate textbooks brought into existence by different publishers with varied objectives. Hence, there is nothing called a CBSE syllabus. As these publishers target more than the capability of the child, the students end up studying a lot.

Difficult to believe? What do you think is the price of an NCERT textbook, any subject, from Grade I-VII? It is Rs. 65/-. What is the price of a textbook of any of the private publishers?  It will not be less than Rs. 200/-. At times, it can be even more than Rs. 300/-. Why such a huge price difference? Because there is nothing called a CBSE syllabus and it is a free-for-all.

The Harmful Effects

A parent might tend to believe that as long as the child is learning, how does it matter what syllabus the child is being taught? Why get into the needless detailing? After all, if it has been delivering till now, it should be fine. The mighty Indian education establishment will surely know what it is doing and even the CBSE Board i.e. the Government of India has seemingly no issues with that.

Well, we are made to believe that it works, whereas it is far from reality. The effects of the non-existent and free-for-all CBSE syllabus is highly damaging to the children and their future. Please read here how it negatively impacts the learning of our children (coming soon).

What are your thoughts on the CBSE syllabus? How have you seen it in action with your child?

PS:  I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Life Learning Curriculum For Preschool

How to ensure learning for the child? How to make sure that the child is prepared to take on the challenges of life? And along with that, the child gets to remain a child and have fun. My proposed solution is the life learning curriculum for preschool. You may ask why the heck some silly thing called a life learning curriculum when the preschools abound all around with their own curriculum.

The preschools expose the child to structured and formal teaching, dull and monotonous routine and rote memorization (all harmful to the child). They do so as the NCERT preschool curriculum is a huge letdown. CBSE syllabus is non-existent and a free-for-all. There aren’t any guidelines for preschools in India. As a result, preschools are merely a me-too version of the schools – rote and joyless.

The child is at the best age to explore and learn, be happy and enjoy childhood bliss. The parents want the best possible education and ready the kid for a lifetime of success. However, the learning environment in the preschools and the curriculum used are severely lacking to back up the parents in their intent and the children in their happiness.

And, hence, the life learning curriculum for preschool. Of course, you won’t be convinced. So, we discuss further on why the life learning curriculum for preschool.

3 Years Or 30 Years

What do you think would be more beneficial to the child? Repeating the rhymes, undesired motor-sensory writing practices (reversal of LSRW) and sitting idle in circle time? Or having a fulfilling adult life, equipped to handle difficult situations and be a confident and empathetic decision-maker? The time span varies. One is after 3 years and the second is after 30 years.

The so-called education of the preschool variety teaches a child what he/she will face in 3 years. With the life learning curriculum, a child learns what he/she will face in 30 years – i.e. all through life. Preschool education teaches a child to do well in unit tests/entrance exams. The life learning curriculum facilitates a child to decide on the course of life and yes, do well.

As a parent, what will you choose for your child as an end-deliverable, from the above two scenarios, after 3 years or 30 years? Preschool or life learning?

Indifferent Or Involved

Preschools’ premise is that they help children be school-ready. It doesn’t help the child to keep getting hammered in the anticipation of an event that itself is notorious to rob the childhood joys.  Such a syllabus is bound to be limited to texts, worksheets and four walls of the classroom, as the schools themselves. In other words, inept and indifferent to a child’s childhood needs.

Life learning is a principle – What the child explores, experiences and learns is for a lifetime. It is a learning that gets ingrained and becomes a foundation for right judgment, all through the adult years. Life learning happens with life i.e. real-life interactions as a teaching aid and involves all sensorial organs and the mind, and not just ears, the only body part that the preschool targets.

As a parent, what will you choose for your child as a process, from the above two scenarios, limiting or exploratory? Preschool or life learning?

An Adult Before Age Or Be A Child

Adults have already learnt, or so they presume. Adults are happy with what they know and exploit it to maximize their returns. They are amenable to instructions and comfortable with the top-down approach to take and follow orders. In other words, adults can complete one round of the house successfully in about 5 minutes or less without a break.

Comparatively, the child will never be able to make a round of the house in one shot. He/she will wait at every corner, look at the ceiling, behind the sofa, take out kitchen stuff and not put anything back. The child will never accomplish a task with the efficiency of an adult. Each task has a different meaning to a child vis-a-vis an adult. Left to choose, the child will not consider the task at all.

As a parent, what will you choose for your child as a persona, from the above two scenarios, becoming an adult before age or be a child? Preschool or life learning?

Objective Of Learning

Ultimately, it will come down to the objective of learning to you as a parent for your child. In simple terms, expecting the child to be a replica of you – adults, at the earliest possible? An initiation to the rat race, what life has become for us. Or allowing the child to have a chance to develop his/her thinking and perspective of life and the world? Letting the child be a child for some more time.

As a parent, what will you choose for your child as his/her future? An anxious and restless life with medical/engineering/whatever degree and yes, the preschools as a stepping stone? Or, empowering the child to let him/her choose the course of adult life with unknown consequences and yes, life learning as a hand-holding enabler?

Like every parent, we also want our twin daughters to become good human beings and do well in life. Just that, we have a disconnect with the current process – the utterly child-unfriendly Indian preschools as the first step of learning, which is not at all a learning. We believe life learning is the starting point of the learning journey for our twin daughters and a companion all through their life.

I will also write about how we have put the life learning curriculum for preschool in action for our daughters with a belief that the learning environment for children is everywhere.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Preschool or Life learning?

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

Stand UP, Speak OUT!!! #IAmAParent.

Why NCERT Does Not Publish A Preschool Syllabus

NCERT published a preschool curriculum in December 2019. That’s pretty strange. The reason being NCERT is a syllabus publishing organization. It has published the syllabus of Class I-XII. Its textbooks are considered a bedrock of India’s beloved entrance exams. CBSE’s board exams are based on NCERT textbooks. Then, why NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus, meaning textbooks?

I have gone through the NCERT preschool curriculum, a huge letdown for the children of India and also the NCERT syllabus of Class I. Basis these two documents, I feel there could be three reasons why NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus.

NCERT Does Not Factor Preschool For Class I syllabus

NCERT Class I syllabus was published in 2005 – when the world had not heard of Apple’s iPhone or WhatsApp/Instagram and there was no Amazon/Facebook in India. Yes, it is difficult to believe, but in 2021, the children of India study the same textbooks that the children studied in 2005. This actually makes NCERT class I textbooks a candidate to compete with dinosaurs.

The primordial nature of NCERT Class I textbook has consequences for the NCERT preschool syllabus. Let me explain in detail. When do kids learn alphabets A-Z and numbers 1-10 today? In preschools. At the age of 3-5 years. Rather, the private preschools can even go on to teach 4-5 letter words and numbers up to 500 to 3-5 year olds.

However, as per NCERT, the children are to be taught alphabets A-Z and numbers 1-10 in class I syllabus textbooks. Now, in that case, what to put in the preschool syllabus? NCERT can’t include the alphabets and the numbers. If it does, the class I syllabus needs to be changed. And if NCERT does change the class I syllabus, then it will have to change the class II syllabus too.

So, what’s the solution? Not publish a preschool syllabus, but a preschool curriculum – gibberish and perplexing document, which nobody can comprehend. This is the prime reason that NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus as the Class I syllabus does not factor in the preschool existence. To cover up that gaffe, NCERT screws up the preschool syllabus.

A meaningful preschool syllabus would mean that all the NCERT syllabus textbooks from I-XII will have to take in a cascading change. It is, of course, anyways due for a course correction. But, NCERT won’t engage in such a large-scale update. So, the preschool syllabus becomes the scapegoat.

Preschools Are A Law Unto Themselves

CBSE conducts board exams – X and XII. It gives affiliations to schools for their students to appear for the board exams. However, it does not get into the preschools’ affiliation. Ditto for State Boards – They too don’t get into preschools. India has numerous preschools dotting nooks and corners of each city/town, but no education board has them in their fold.

So, for all practical purposes, preschools function merrily on their own, independently, with no accountability to anyone – on what/how they treat and teach the kids. Preschools aren’t hung up about syllabus and all such rubbish. Why bother when there is nobody to ask? NCERT is very much aware of this situation.

Even in CBSE-affiliated private schools, how many of them actually follow NCERT textbooks? None. NCERT knows this, as well. A fellow Government organization working in the same domain, which has regulatory powers, can’t make private schools follow NCERT textbooks. What’s the probability that private playschools, whom nobody regulates, will follow the NCERT syllabus? Zilch. Absolute Zero.

So, what does NCERT do? Just publish a curriculum, go around the country claiming that it has successfully guided the preschools, and go back to slumber. Rather than having an egg on the face by preschools not following your textbooks, better not to waste the efforts. So, NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus.

The Curriculum Development Team

There are 25 subject experts on the curriculum development team – 16 professors and two of them are even retired professors. No doubt, all of them would be distinguished academicians but when in life would have they last dealt with 3-5 year olds directly, hands-on? What would be their memory of seeing kids in action, leave aside today’s kids?

What would you trust professors with? College education, not the preschool variety. But, NCERT does exactly the opposite and the results are for everyone to see. This team can’t comprehend the two generations gap, not even one, with today’s kids and comes up with a lofty document that has no valid reason to exist.

This seems to be the third reason that NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus because the people NCERT employed can’t bend down to the level of 3-5 year olds, figuratively and literally.

The Self-Designed Syllabus

With the above state of affairs of indifferent NCERT and imperious private preschools, what should/can a parent do? Come up with one’s own preschool syllabus. Sounds exciting and challenging? It surely is.

Here is the preschool syllabus, sort of, that my wife and I came up with for our twin daughters.

PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.

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