The Centre, for the first time, is set to notify syllabus and guidelines for playschools across the country that will try to bring a standardised curriculum for per-schooling and set minimum standards of services and facilities for such centres. The initiative is part of the first 100-day plan of the Union Human Resources Development Ministry.
The NCERT had prepared the documents for playschools last year, which was later, also discussed with states. “We will now issue these guidelines and curriculum framework urging the states to adopt them,” a senior official in the ministry said.
Playschools are typically meant for children aged three to six but many such centres admit children over 18 months onwards. At present, these playschools, which are run privately, are not governed under any specific guidelines.
The NCERT guidelines which are now set to be released prescribe detailed rules such as infrastructure requirements, teacher-student ratio, roles and responsibilities of principal and minimum qualification for teachers. It will also specify learning outcomes from children who attend them.
The curriculum lays out three goals for the first and second years of pre-school, saying that children maintain good health and connect with their environment.
“Preparing a model curriculum and guidelines for playschools was crucial as they were just thought of as downward extension of formal schooling and parents did not have any reference on what minimum standards should they look for and how should young kids be taught,” said an NCERT official. “We have tried to answer all of these in the guidelines.”
Educationist Neelam Sood said it was a good step as long as the syllabus was not very rigid and allowed kids to learn while playing. “The guidelines are a good idea and should give an idea to teachers to teach young children creatively without burdening them,” she said.