Understanding Early Childhood Education
Date: Wednesday , February 22, 2017
Prajodh Rajan completed his education in Mumbai and Coimbatore and is a management graduate from the University of Madras. What started off as a project in 2001 with two pre-schools in Mumbai, EuroKids now is a network of 800+ pre-schools spread across 280 towns & cities in India and abroad under his leadership.
A Pre-School is the child’s first experience away from the parents and it’s a huge leap for both the parents as well as for the child. This is the first time that the child is separated from the comfortable and the secure environment provided by the parents. Therefore, the pre-school must be a warm, friendly, safe, hygienic environment that makes the pre-school, quite simply, a second home for the child.
At the pre-school, it is the first place where the child builds his/her self-esteem. A child learns the importance of his/her name, understands the objects in the surroundings and makes new friends. It is the perfect place to lay the child’s foundation in the formative years. The skills and knowledge that the child develops in the preschool has a great impact on his/her aptitude in the years to come. Researches on preschool education has shown that children who are moulded correctly at an early age usually have improved social skills, lesser behavioural problems and improved learning abilities.
The idea that one must create the ‘perfect pre-schooling experience’ for a child is the single biggest thought; that will create a differentiation for a preschool brand in an evolving but already competitive industry. Today with the number of preschools that have opened shop in the country, I do feel that the category will witness a phase of consolidation, reinvention and progression. Preschool brands will be challenged, and will have to reinvent their approach. They must evolve, be willing to learn and unlearn and become 100% child centric in their approach so that they become the preferred choice of the customer.
Thus, in this phase, I do feel that a preschool brand must adopt a ‘Child-First Ideology’ wherein all its initiatives have an inherent child-centric approach that will ensure that all its efforts are directed towards providing a fun learning experience. Gone are the days when parents would be content to send their children to the nearest or the most popular preschools in the neighbourhood. Today for every child, going to a reputed, well organised, and structured pre-school has become a necessity. Parents will choose that pre-school where the child’s well-being, safety needs are met and a healthy and hygienic environment with a robust structured curriculum is provided. Keeping this in mind then, it becomes imperative to create a nurturing home-like environment at the preschool. Preschools must make this transition of the child between home and school perfect by providing a holistic nurturing environment with emphasis on child development, security, cleanliness, structured curriculum, and establishing a close connection with the parents of each child so that a close bond between the home and the pre-school is created.
In order to enhance the pre-schooling experience one has to invest in creating an ecosystem of ‘educators’. The educators – who are the teachers and support staff are the fulcrum upon which the entire pre schooling success is leveraged upon. Hence it’s imperative to create an excellent ecosystem of teachers and support staff who will invest their efforts towards bringing out each child’s uniqueness. All teachers must be well qualified and certified in Early Childhood Care & Education (E.C.C.Ed) an program, which gives them the specialised skills they need to help every child learn. Additionally, teachers must possess special qualities and that personal touch to help children develop and learn at their own pace.
And finally, the last mile extends to selecting the right franchise partners who have a willingness to commit to achieving excellence. When one looks at joining hands with a partner one must look for like-mindedness, a passion for education and the commitment to carry forward the ambition of making learning a fun experience for children. The partner must understand that this business is all about delivering quality pre-schooling education without comprises. A business where there are no shortcuts to success and one that is perfect for an individual who is looking for a long-term financially rewarding proposition. As this is a hugely people centric business, the partner must work towards his remain tuned to the evolving dynamics of this business and are in sync with the constantly evolving needs of the business. Thus, all the above elements when in synergy, makes the preschool child’s second home.
As a parent, one needs to be very clear about the child’s needs especially in his/her formative years and ensure that the preschool chosen for the child is helping him/her build the right foundation for his/her bright future.