The name may be Tiny Woods Kindergarten, but there is nothing ‘tiny’ about the initiatives undertaken by this institution in Angamaly. For example, ever heard of a class for parents in a kindergarten? Reena Paul, the principal of the school, says, “We are all set to welcome our first batch of homeschooling parents this academic year!”
Homeschooling in a kindergarten? Wait for Reena’s explanation. “Many parents believe that cartoon shows on TV or mobile phone can substitute early education for children, but no! Actually, most of the early pre-school education can be done by the parents themselves at home. I believe mothers are the best teachers, but many of them do not know how to engage their children.” Mothers can’t be blamed though, as most of them walk the work-home tightrope and time can be a big problem. How often do we see parents handing over mobile phones to their kids to keep them engaged or engrossed while they go about the business of taking care of their home and work?
“I believe there are so many avenues that a parent can pursue to keep her child actively engaged without resorting to any digital help. It is specifically to spell out these avenues as well as make the parents, especially the mothers, understand the importance of imparting lessons early on that we have started the homeschooling courses,” says Reena. Citing an example, Reena talks about mud shaping classes, where the kids can get their hands dirty but their minds happy. She firmly believes that early education can lay the foundation for a child who is more engaged in physical activity and active playtime.
The homeschooling classes, an initiative of the Family Wellness Club, will be held two days a week. Arun Kaiprampadan, who has made the venture possible, adds, “It's an initiative to move children away from screens and educate parents that educational TV programmes or cartoons are not at all homeschooling.”
There is another interesting aspect. While a small fee is accepted for the course, there is a provision for those parents who cannot afford it. “Those who cannot afford the fees can bring the organic waste from their kitchen in lieu of it. We want to encourage parents to attend this course. Even the fees would not have been mandatory. However, if the course is free, people will not take it seriously or attend it.”
Since the kindergarten is planning on setting up their own compost bins, this arrangement works out to their benefit, too....