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‘Play school is the best time to bring out a child’s innate potential,’ explains Pre-Primary Educator

Rabia Azim, teacher at Apeejay Rhythms Kinderworld School shares quick tips for working parents to make their child’s learning fun

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Rabia Azim (32), a Pre-Primary educator who studied Bachelors of Education (B.Ed) with specialisation in Nursery education from Jamia Millia Islamia, has been training pre-primary children for about a decade. Having worked in the domains of sensory-based and soft skills, she is presently associated with Apeejay Rhythms Kinderworld, Greater Kailash – II.  

In the school, she takes Scratch classes, a coding and programming software for kids. Apart from that, Phonics i.e. reading to sounds, Numeracy, Speech and Drama, Languages, Artistry and Crafts-o-mania are imparted by her. In an interview, she emphasis the importance of these endeavours to make the child learn, create and imagine in the foundational years. Read On:

Many new parents tend to think that play schools are about rhymes and craft. Is that so? 

No. At Apeejay Rhythms, we follow the best of different pre-primary curriculum selected from specialisations and practices across the world. We believe that this age is most crucial as a child can imbibe most of the learning at this time. Paired with the right environment, platform and activities, the child grows and understands the world. In the school, we follow Montessori education, sensory-based activities, jolly phonics teaching, just to name a few. Through these, we endeavour to bring out the unique qualities and potential of a child. We focus on holistic development that can go beyond reading or writing. In our practices, we ensure that the imaginative, creative, behavioural and social aspects of the child are nurtured.

Is play school a key period to focus on a child’s uniqueness?

Absolutely! In these foundational years, children may pick up some bad habits, speech inaccuracies or misbehaviours, simply because they are like a sponge. They are constantly absorbing things from their environment. However, this is also a crucial time to be able to bring out their innate potential and make them learn.

From early on, if they are habituated to study, read or engage in productive activities, they will follow it through their lives.

Most importantly, during this time, peer interactions become necessary. Children feel more comfortable and at ease with those near to their age. They learn through collaboration, communication and feel the need to share their thoughts with someone like-minded. Each child may or may not get the time or attention at home to express themselves in this manner, and so, peers can make up for that gap.

For parents, it’s necessary to give a listening ear to their child in their pre-primary years. The child must feel wanted and important – especially when they are expressing themselves. It builds their confidence.

During Covid-19 many young parents withdrew admissions from play schools. What do you think they have missed out on?

A lot of things. Before joining a full-fledged K-12 school, a child needs to be prepared. Basic things such as understanding that this is a classroom, this is how we sit, behave and interact – are all missed out. Peer interactions, communication, language power, personality development and confidence-building are often overlooked by parents in doing so. Often, when a child enters the school before learning all this, they tend to become under-confident or shy. Often, they lag behind and struggle to make friends.

In the pandemic, you must have delivered online lessons. What practices were put in place to sustain these little ones’ attention?

In the online classes, child-centric activities became necessary. We introduced songs, games, playful learning and pictures as some tools used to keep them engaged. Through puzzles, crosswords, flash-cards, play dough, art and craft, etc., their sensory, olfactory, auditory, motor abilities were enhanced.

For parents, wanting to make their child learn at home, your tips?

They can read some bedtime stories at night to them. During that time, they should emphasise on the themes, words, gestures and emotions in the narrative. Parents must also introduce some sensory-based activities to their child such as feeling, holding things, experiencing things and scribbling. Additionally, some musical movements and dance helps a child learn balance in the pre-primary years.

Often working parents are not able to devote much time to their little ones. How can they adapt?

Working parents just need to take out about 15-20 minutes in their day. Simply, because a child does not have a long attention span. If they are doing a pre-decided activity with their child, then after 2-3 times they should encourage him/her to do it independently. Allow your child to become self-driven and self-paced.

Lastly, I would say that a parent should never say ‘no’ to their children. Instead, they should show them a better way of doing the same thing. This approach is crucial, so that a child keeps trying, thinking and attempting things in more ways than one.   

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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