Change is accelerating and it is happening at a pace like never before. And it is only natural that we take a look at how we are enabling the next generation to cope, adapt and drive the change. Preschool education, therefore, is more than just knowledge and information. It is about building core competencies and skills. ‘Catch them young’ cannot fit any other scenario better. In terms of development, the importance of early childhood education can’t be overstated. A child’s early years are the foundation for his or her future development. A strong foundation provides a strong base for lifelong learning. Preschool education facilitates learning abilities; including cognitive, emotional and social development. Well-established research emphasizes the importance of early childhood education as an essential building block of a child’s future success.
Having established that early years needs to be addressed with utmost care and attention, let’s take a closer look at the preschool curriculum and the preparatory years before a child gets into a mainstream school. Research suggests that there are four dimensions of readiness: language and literacy, thinking skills, self -confidence and self-regulation. School readiness is more than being chronologically age-appropriate, being able to count numbers or knowing the letters. School readiness is characterized by listening and asking questions, communicating thoughts and opinion, thinking before performing an act, being able to wait for his/her turn, being able to share, being able to work in a group, being able to work alone, being able to empathize, being curious etc. So it is imperative to understand how this is being addressed in the preschool syllabus.
At KLAY, the nursery curriculum is designed to address the developing milestones and progressively leading to build the competencies and skills to enable the child to comfortably transition into mainstream school.
Language and Literacy – to build vocabulary, to verbally communicate wants and needs, understand and respond to questions and to develop a love for reading, is addressed through a focused program at each level of our preschool syllabus. Under this we cover the following:
Thinking Skills – another important skill, it is also learned during a child’s formative years in our preschool curriculum. The understanding of cause and effect, the ability to find solutions (Even a simple act of grasping something for support to stand up and reach for an object), seeing patterns, sequencing etc are all attributes of the thinking. The never-ending ‘Why?’ is an indication of the thinking mind.
Self-Regulation – Patience and self-control are integral to a child’s ability to share and to cooperate with others. Children learn about limits, about appropriate behaviour (as simple as forming a queue to step out of class, sliding the chair back into position when they get up, cleaning up after play etc). When a child is taught to wait and be patient, it allows them to understand that other children have needs too. Thus, our nursery curriculum is designed to incorporate this.
A confident child easily adapts into a new environment, ready to take on new challenges, interact with others and is ready to stay away from parents for an extended period of time. It is an important skill to build in the early years as it paves the way for successful relationships and success in all the other aspects of life as well.
The preschool syllabus at KLAY facilitates building these capacities in the early years thus providing a strong foundation for academic success. In a caring and stimulating atmosphere, our passionate, trained and engaging teachers give every child endless opportunity to discover, learn, grow and imagine. We believe that a preschool curriculum is beyond what appears in manuals; it is everything that happens at our preschool – from interactions and meals to singing and playing. Playing with toys not only develops motor skills; it teaches lessons about sharing with friends. Singing songs while washing hands instils an interest in the arts while forging social bonds and educating children about the need for good hygiene. We want to fuse theoretical and activity based learning for kindergarten so that children get the best of both worlds.
AT KLAY, our core focus for creating the best preschool curriculum is on:
Multiple Intelligences – The Theory of Multiple Intelligences says that intelligence can be differentiated by different styles or ways of learning.
Inquiry Based Learning – When children are able to pose questions and investigate the answers, they feel in charge of their own learning.
Experiential Learning – A child learns through experiences in and around one’s learning space. We believe that children learn best when we build on their individual strengths and intelligence.
At KLAY, our preschool education beyond linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. We esteem highly articulate or logical people. In our nursery curriculum, we place equal attention on individuals who show gifts in the other areas of intelligence: the artists, architects, musicians, naturalists, designers, dancers, therapists, entrepreneurs, and others who enrich the world in which we live in.
The KLAY preschool curriculum uses the Multiple Intelligences approach to nurture and develop the child’s intelligence. The classrooms have well-planned learning centers for creative curriculum for preschool that allow for child choice and self-directed play, small groups, and supportive teaching that prepares children for academic excellence. The child’s innate curiosity is nurtured when they are guided to ask questions and investigate and explore on their own. Children are encouraged to connect their learning experiences with real-time experiences.
High-quality childhood care and preschool education support brain development and school readiness. It is important to ensure that we must provide every child with the firm foundation so critical to learning in school. At KLAY we recognize this and look at school readiness beyond numbers and letters with our creative curriculum for preschool and activity based learning for kindergarten curriculum. When children leave the KLAY classrooms they are confident, good communicators, thinkers and have the important skill of self-regulation. This helps them transition into mainstream schools with ease, irrespective of the choice of school.
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.