Our preschool curriculum and pedagogy is based on the following research based insights about young children:
- Children are full of curiosity and creativity and have a natural drive to learn. They need a stimulating environment that brings out their intrinsic motivation to learn rather than extrinsic motivators like grades, rewards or praise.
- Children need an environment where they are loved and respected unconditionally, in order to bring out their full potential
- Children need freedom to explore based on their current interests
- Children develop responsibility when gentle limits are placed rather than authoritarian limits like punishments and scolding
- A peer learning atmosphere enhances progress in children greatly compared to a pure adult to child learning atmosphere. In a peer learning environment adults act as facilitators rather than as teachers.
- Thinking capabilities are developed when the children move their body in purposeful ways.
- During the first 6 years of life, children can pickup speaking and comprehending a new language by just being surrounded by it.
Structure of the preschool program
We partner with affordable private schools serving low income communities and conduct our program in their preschool classrooms 3 days a week during the morning hours. This program is free of charge to the schools. We maintain a teacher-student ratio of 1:12.
Teaching and learning
We implement a holistic curriculum in our classrooms spanning the four 21st century skills – Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creative thinking and in following domain areas – Social and Emotional, Physical, Linguistic, Mathematical and Logical Reasoning, Visual and Musical development. The curriculum content and implementation processes are play-based and choice-based and are designed to nurture the drive to learn in children. The children are given an atmosphere where they can express themselves freely and work at their own pace, yet challenge themselves to higher goals. Several classroom processes like Circle Time, Free Play, Process Based Art, Hands-on Thinking Activities, Music and Movement and Storytelling are used to achieve this.
Our preschool program is an English immersion program. Our teachers use English to converse with children about almost everything, all through the program.
Teacher hiring and training
Given the need to maintain a 1:12 teacher-student ratio and our goal to provide a high quality teaching-learning atmosphere in the classroom, we employ a part time teacher model. Our teachers are passionate about working with children and come with an open mind about learning relevant teaching-learning methodologies relevant to our context and are open to self-transformation.
Our activities are designed in a modular fashion to enable scalability and on the job learning. Our teachers undergo intensive training at the beginning of the academic year on teaching-learning processes and pedagogies in the preschool classroom. The training is based on activities, discussions and role-plays. In addition, support in the form of mentoring and in-service training is provided all through the academic year. Teachers are also given support in the form of self-care and wellness sessions in order to help them not only achieve self-growth but also work mindfully in the classroom.
We capture detailed observations about each child in our classroom on a regular basis and periodically do teacher-reported assessments of the children based on our observations.The assessment parameters span across all the domain areas of our curriculum and is closely aligned with our curriculum. We strive hard to make sure that children are not aware of our assessments and it’s processes so that they can operate fearlessly in the classrooms.
Workshops for parents and partner school teachers
We engage regularly with the teachers of our partner schools and the parents of the children we work with, through workshops and parent teacher meetings. The objectives of these interactions is to help come to a common understanding about the needs of young children and the skills required to nurture their development.