By Ravi Singh Negi
Dehradun, 20 May: During the ongoing period of lockdown, almost all private schools have started online classes to keep the students busy and keep them in touch with academics with the intention to complete the syllabus in time. In most of these cases, the online classes are barely able to maintain their purpose for which they have been started, except the fees they can demand from parents for this lockdown period. Only benefit to the parents by this process is they have come to know the quality of education provided to their children in the classrooms, the poor communication skills and the absence of professionalism amongst the teachers and the lecturers. Education provided through online classes by the schools is too meager in purpose, in proportion to the fee charged.
I am not against online classes for children above class 6, provided their aim, intention and monitoring is proper towards a desired goal.
It is more serious, when it comes to the play schools. Parents in the fear of non-availability of seats in the schools of their choice, have admitted their children, aged from two years of age, in play schools by paying a minimum of three months fee in advance in most cases. The School Session was to start from 1 April, but due to the lockdown, classes could not be started, nor have the children actually seen the class room. Almost all school administrations, with the intent of not refunding the fee or extending that fee for a further period till the school opens, have started online classes for playschool children. During these classes, they supply online instructions and some text and pictures to the parents of the child and ask them to explain it themselves. I have seen mothers sitting with tender children, teaching them reading and writing with lots of rebuking. It is a forced teaching and learning process, which is ridiculous and harmful to the children and a waste of parents’ money.
These playschools are supposed to be headed by a professional who is supposed to know the aims and objectives of Play Group Education. As the name itself suggests – learning while playing. There is no scope for forced or pressurised learning in play schools. Playschools should not be aimed at developing academic skills and there should be no set goals or stress regarding performance of the child. The aim of the education at this stage should be totally interactive towards social, emotional, intellectual, cognitive, sensory motor development, physical development and self discipline in a child, basically to prepare them for social adjustment in school. With the development of these aspects of personality, there will be no difficulty in academic learning for a child.
Playschool learning cannot be brought home for a child online. There has to be a small group of children, ranging from 5-15 children of the same age group, with appropriate attention to each child. There should be lots of teaching aids including interesting childhood toys and games to choose the activities of their interest. It will motivate the children and create in them an interest outside the home.
Parents of the child at home may be highly qualified but not necessarily knowledgeable enough in child psychology and in rearing a child. This is why play schools must have qualified teachers to handle and monitor the child and teach them basic academics during play.
Playschools with online sessions for children are playing with the childhood of these children by putting unnecessary pressure on them, more towards academic learning which will hamper mental growth of a child and may develop hatred for reading and writing in future.