THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: What could be the options for a young electronics and communication engineering graduate looking to launch a start-up? Well, a preschool would not figure even in your wildest guess! Starting an own venture had been a long-cherished dream of Devika V S, a 28-year-old BTech graduate hailing from the capital city. And the preschool idea struck her during one of her tiring searches to find a good centre for her two-year-old child.
“I was on the lookout for a preschool with a safe, stimulating and caring environment. I visited several institutions but most of them were mere play schools where children are let loose,” she says.
“These visits were a revelation for me - of an opportunity in waiting. My suggestion received good support from my family, especially my husband,” she said.
According to Devika, her venture “The Arisen International Playschool and Daycare” on Kochar road, Jagathy, follows international standards in child grooming. Qualified teachers and trained ayahs look after the children. Devika’s formal position is as the centre’s manager but her tasks juggle between training the kids to housekeeping.
For her, it wasn’t an overnight transformation as an entrepreneur. She attended training programmes by some internationally acclaimed agencies in child care and psychology. “Also I interacted with experts before finalising the curriculum,” she says.
“At the preschool we encourage children to learn through play, exploration and discovery in order to understand the world around them. Curriculum includes multiple best practice methodologies from Montessori to multiple intelligence theories,” she says.
According to Devika, her centre is quite different from Montessori centres in its approach. “As an entrepreneur I wanted to start something different from others. There are Montessoris aplenty. But I developed a USP - a childcare approach based on Indian context,” she says.
“My consultants gave a thumbs up to the idea and parents who approach us are impressed by this element of the curriculum,” she says.
A module of the Indian approach is a kitchen familiarisation programme. The centre has a mini kitchen where miniatures of kitchen utensils ranging from pots to country tavas are arranged on a kid’s shelf. Children imitate cooking and in the process they learn the names and uses of the wares.
Children are also encouraged to imitate mothers by cleaning the floor with a miniature broom.
According to Devika, the centre does not force a kid to do a particular task. “We are giving them plenty of options to be engaged in. For them these are toys but actually they are developing one or other skill by rearranging them,” she said pointing to a stacking square toy.
“If they are interested in trying something, the trainer demonstrates it. Later, it is left to them to learn by self-correction. The trainer intervenes only if the kids are need,” she said.
The centre has a huge collection of toys which aims at improving the language, mathematical and motor skills of children.
Devika’s husband Krishnadeepth C T is an assistant professor with a private engineering college.