HYDERABAD: A group of internationally renowned early childhood educators advised the government to fund more for early childhood education and urged them to stop bringing academics into early childhood education. Instead they requested them to introduce education through play. They appealed to make early childhood education available and affordable. The school’s focus must move away from rote learning method to interactive way of learning. Schools must shift focus from teacher-centric to child-centric. They told parents and teachers to honour children for what they are.
The educators from all over the world were in city on Wednesday for a two-day certificate leadership workshop for childhood professionals. Dr Natalie Seer, Director, Rainbow School & Pepper Tree, Stanford University; Dr Ezat Parnia, President, Hopkinton Consulting Group;Jayanti Tambem Executive Director, UCLA Early Care Education and Holly Elissa Bruno and Horward Alumni were among the top speakers of the day.
Organised by LIFE India, a Leadership Institute for Early Years with the partnership with Hopkinton Consulting Group, USA, the workshop focussed on some important statistics. Nearly 160 million children are in the age group of one to six years in India. This makes India the country with highest number of children.
According to rough estimates, we have 12,500 main stream schools and with some of them having pre schools. Nearly 15 million pre-school teachers are required in India. But, not many trained early childhood professionals are available. America is focusing more on this area. They brought legislation into this. They fund more. Finland is the country which has done lot of work in this area. But, we Indians, lag behind in early childhood professional education, they observed.
About 40 schools such as Meridian, Chirec, Glendale, Rockwool, Eurokids, Early Childhood Association and many others have nominated their teachers. Some of the topics covered in the workshop include discovering leadership skills, policies, knowing role of leadership, how to make organisation more effective, team building, dealing with uncertainties etc.
In the Indian education system, the big beneficiaries are not students, but textbook publishers said Jayanti Tambem, Executive Director, UCLA Early Care Education.
The Indian school curriculum shouldn’t just give answers, but must encourage kids to ask question and seek information. Develop curiosity, she said while adding, “Every parent today want their kids to go to IIT. They will go to IIT if their foundation is strong. Or else they will commit suicide, they will crumble there.”
Jayanti observed that untrained are put in teaching. B.Eds are not equipped to handle the needs of today’s kids. Teachers are supposed to handle curriculum, teaching, but they lag in leadership skills. Early Childhood Professionals are experts who if intervened early in life of the child they learn the most, because this is the age from 1 to 6 where their brain develops the most and also observe and grasp the most. Engage kids in natural environment to make them most effective, she said.
“India has been the brain of the world. About 15 per cent of Indians are in leadership positions across the globe. Which means Indian ancient way of teaching, gurukul education has been very good. We must go back to those roots, he observed. India could become the most effective model of education in the world, if they introduce early childhood education, Dr. Ezat Parnia, President, Hopkinton Consulting Group, felt.
“A Kaleidoscope of Children”, a book which is a guide for parents on how best to support their children in their early childhood was launched. It is authored by Jayanti Tambe.