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‘Overall’ Growth Is Needed at Pre-Primary Level

By Raani Ved

Pre-primary education sector is incorporating holistic development modules. Many playschools, day care centres and nurseries lay emphasis on overall growth and not just specific aspects. Delhi-based Yogini Sharma sends her three-year-old son Rohit to a private nursery that provides holistic education. “The best thing I like about this system is that they focus on growth in all aspects of a human being – intellectual, social, emotional and cultural. I am glad I sent my child to this place and did not get swayed by popular perception of making my child suffer just to get ‘good marks’ in academics.”

Holistic centres prepare children to be lifelong natural learners. Pune-based Kavita Tope, whose four-year-old daughter is enrolled in a playschool that provides holistic education, says “The school is making sure that my child is also learning basic human values which we are losing gradually – compassion, gratitude, respect, belongingness, etc. I learn so much from my own daughter everyday.”

There are some critical components of holistic education that pre-primary education centres must offer to the children. In nurseries and playschools the children are very young and highly impressionable making it easier to inculcate a well-rounded behaviour. Most holistic education centres focus on hands-on lessons for academics, emotional development, character formation, development of communication and social skills, team work, good manners, etc.

In May 2018, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar announced the launch of ‘Samagra Shiksha’ an integrated scheme for school education extending support to states from pre-school to senior secondary levels. The scheme marked a huge shift from the existing mode of education and treats school holistically as a ‘continuum starting from pre-school’. Speaking at the occasion, Mr Javadekar said “The scheme focuses on improving quality of education at all levels by integrating the two T’s – Teachers and Technology.‘Samagra’ means a holistic approach to treat education as a whole and the scheme is very aptly named as it sees school education holistically without segmenting it into various levels of education.”

It is no secret what Mahatma Gandhi said about education, that it should focus on all–round education and not just literacy. ‘Education is the systematic process of training of the head, hand and heart. Head – learning to know, Hand – learning to earn a livelihood and Heart – learning to be’. He said education is needed to make better human beings and that allows them to meet basic needs of an individual.

However, to ensure holistic education is imparted, the teachers must be properly trained, curriculum must be properly designed and an environment is provided that promotes balanced relationships between children and with people and the environment.

Holistic education is a welcome alternative to the mechanised mode of education that is primarily instruction based. There are different theories on modes of discourse but the underlying goal is the same – assist children in understanding the concept of a balanced life so when they grow up they make the right decisions about their own lives.

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