Early Learning with Welcome & Warmth

The academic session is almost halfway through. The first term exams are scheduled, papers are being set, practice worksheets are being given out, revisions are being done.

What comes to your mind when you read these? Almost everyone would have the visuals of panicking students and stressed parents. However, this is the story of the school principals and educators across the globe.

A lot goes into the smooth functioning of a school. It is limited to finalising not just the curriculum, but also the books, the co-curricular activities, the functions, the inter-school competitions and the list goes on. Add to that the interactions with parents and you have nothing less than chaos, specifically so in the lower pre-primary grades. The kids are young, innocent, unaware, not used to this environment and more.

So as academicians and educators, how do you cope? Here are some tips.

1. Welcoming

Make the first day at school memorable for children. Make it welcoming. Have a small celebration of sorts as the tiny tots enter the school building or the classroom. Fill the classroom with colourful graffiti, stuffed animals, toys, picture books and everything else you need to make a positive first impression.

2. Warm

Most kindergartners have never been away from their parents. The fact that they will have to sit with other children in a room without their parents is terrifying for them. They get anxious and emotional. Some even suffer from anxiety and separation issues. Hence, it is essential to reassure them. Let parents sit with the child in the class for a day or two, then just outside the class for a day and then slowly phase it out. Of course, some kids might still throw tantrums. In that case, explain to the child tenderly that their parent is sitting in the lobby of the school and will come when called. Do this gently and with love.

3. Encouraging

Preschoolers are in the process of developing their motor skills. They are hyper and are bundles of energy. Do not suppress them; let them be free. Avoid a structured seating arrangement. Initially, let them have the freedom to sit or lie down wherever they please. Put up some blank drawing sheets or blackboard stickers around the room and let them draw at will. Let them express themselves. This freedom will win them over, and they will willingly go to school.

4. Friendly

According to 3- and 4-year-olds, a school is full of authoritarian teachers and a formidable principal. Remove that notion. Let the child see teachers and the principal as wonderfully welcoming and warm people. Let there be regular lively interactions between the students, the class teachers, and the principal. At school, children should always feel safe and welcomed.

These were some simple yet effective ways to make school a delightful, exciting place for children. Happy educating!