To make learning fun

To make learning fun

A renowned US physical therapist, Glen Doman, published a book in 1963 titled How to Teach Your Baby to Read. In this book, he argued that a child’s brain grows more in the first year than at any other stage of his or her life.

While not all child development researchers may have the same opinion, early childhood is the best time for kids to pick up new skills that are imperative for their overall growth. And, this explains why preschools play a vital role in shaping a child’s life as he or she grows up. In fact, a growing body of evidence shows that a high-quality preschool gives a significant boost to children’s holistic development. This is the place where they start to explore their senses, identify different shapes, communicate with peers and learn basic concepts. More importantly, preschools provide children with a platform to step out of their comfort zone and build a relationship with the outside world.

Most preschools in the country, however, follow a rigid, structured curriculum, which mainly focuses on the academic progress of children by teaching them about letters, numbers and shapes. And, these preschools miss out on another important aspect, that is, sensory development. This affects the learning ability of children who often face difficulty in comprehending lessons. Nevertheless, the traditional pedagogy may not always work in favour of the little tots.

Emotional growth

Facilitating children’s emotional growth is equally important as their cognitive growth, if not more. Especially, at a time when we are walking into a future dominated by technology, qualities like creativity, empathy and wisdom will be crucial differentiators. Fortunately, a few new-age preschools are aiming to bridge this gap by adopting innovative teaching methods that are better suited for the fast-tracked world today. From using smart learning tools to play-based activities, these academic institutes are slowly ushering in a new era for the country’s preschool sector.

Children between three and five years hardly find textbooks interesting. This is where activity boxes, which are specially designed to enrich and stimulate young minds, such as play-based activities enable kids to gain valuable lessons by building new things, performing certain tasks and finding various solutions for problems. This kind of unstructured learning methods not only capture the attention of children but also help in promoting mindfulness, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Unlike their previous generations, children today spend little time outdoors. However, it’s the learning that occurs outside the walls of a classroom that enable them to gather knowledge, acquire real-world skills and values through direct experiences. Be it a nature expedition or a field trip, outdoor learning can spark students’ interest while providing them with the opportunity for multisensory learning. In addition, lessons outside the classroom help instill environmental awareness in children from an early age. 

In simple terms, emotional quotient (EQ) refers to one’s ability to recognise, understand and manage emotions effectively. Research has shown that children with low EQ skills may face a number of psychological issues such as aggression, anxiety disorder, depression, lack of confidence, etc. In some cases, it can affect their academic performance too. This is why preschool teachers should lay equal emphasis on developing the EQ as intelligence quotient (IQ). It has been observed that teaching children skills like self-awareness, self-motivation, empathy and relationship building equip them to succeed both in their academic and social lives. Active listening is another important skill that allows kids to engage in effective communication.

From making paper lamps and clay models to turning old plastic bottles into flower vases, teachers should encourage kids to explore their creative side from an early age. And, this practice keeps them inspired and engaged at the same time. Moreover, children who make DIY crafts grow more focused and mindful. 

It’s no secret that children learn the best when they use their imagination. Just like other student-driven activities, role-play can effectively encourage independent learning, improve concentration and enhance imaginative skills in preschoolers. Role-play also enables them to navigate their way through a simulated real-world environment by interacting with peers in a controlled manner. Other than that, using role-play in a classroom can be a great icebreaker for kids who have difficulty with transitions.

The world today is going through a major transformation. With the changing times, it’s important that the age-old, traditional pedagogical approaches are replaced by modern teaching techniques that benefit children in the long run. And, the change should be from the ground level, i.e. preschools. Once our preschools embrace new teaching methods, the children will be prepared to take on anything in the future.

(The author is Founder, FlintoClass)