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You are here : home > Intelligent Child > Schools > The Importance of Play Schools

The Importance of Play Schools

These days some children are sent to 'school' from the time they are 12-14 months old. This is a new trend and parents of the old school often wonder what these 'babies' could possibly learn when they have just begun to walk and talk. Many parents feel that they turned out quite all right without having attended any play school. Other skeptical parents believe that this is just another gimmicky idea that will only put further pressure on today's children. While it is true that children today face tremendous academic pressure, skeptics will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the concept of a play school has nothing to do with academics at all. 
 

What is a play school

What is the concept of a play school? A play school is a place where around 10-20 children spend 1-2 hours each day under the supervision of a couple of teachers. "The supervisor-child ratio should ideally be around 1:10" says Dr. Sushma Mehrotra, an experienced child psychologist. 

She believes that play schools have a lot to offer, and that the play schools should not be aimed at developing academic skills like reading and writing. She also says there should be no set goals or any stress on performance; the focus should be on the sensory-motor development and the social development of the child. She is very much an advocate of play schools since they develop age-appropriate behaviour at the right time. 
 

How do play schools operate

How do play schools go about achieving this goal? Dr. Mehrotra spoke of a play school in Pune that even helped mothers toilet-train their children. She said, "Every child brought its potty to school and was trained by the supervisors to use it. At this stage, children learn best by observation. At home, this kind of learning is not at an optimum level.  In a play school the supervisors focus on teaching children the age-appropriate behaviours through observation and imitation." 

Anupama Sen has just started taking her one-year old daughter to a play school. She says," The school has a language and listening room, a motor skills room and a drama and theatre room. In the motor skills room for instance, children are made to pour water from one tumbler into another and then repeat this exercise using a funnel. Another activity is 'fishing'. Here, children are given magnetic rods using which they 'fish' for cardboard fish with metal tags. In the drama and theatre room, nursery rhymes are enacted and the children participate in role-play exercises."
 

Benefits of play school: Learning

Most parents give their children plenty of attention in terms of looking after their basic needs and showering them with toys to entertain them. In play schools, however, children are provided with the 'right' toys, i.e. those appropriate to their stage of development. Also, their play is guided so that it becomes a learning experience. The ideas is that children should transfer play behaviours such as feeding a doll, changing its clothes, etc. to themselves, and thus develop self-help skills. The thinking is that if a child can go through the motions of feeding a doll, it will soon learn to feed itself. 

Play schools also teach children to recognize their own possessions. Soon a child will learn to identify his schoolbag, learn the mealtime routine that involves opening a lunchbox, folding a napkin and putting everything back after the meal is over and so on. Now this may not seem like a great achievement, but by the standards of toddler behaviour, it is. Children are not born with these skills, they have to develop them. And this is where the play school steps in to help parents out. Another advantage Dr. Mehrotra pointed out is that a child's language skills develop faster as they interact with many children of their own age and a little older. 
 

Benefits of play school: Free Play

Lata Gupta enrolled her 1year and ten-month-old daughter in a play school for about six months. She described the school as an open room full of toys and with two supervisors. "Initially, the mothers were allowed to sit inside, but we were advised that if we had a good maid, it would be good enough if she waited outside. The children are not forced to do anything. They can play with any of the toys as they wish. For instance, if they are playing with a train, the teachers will sing a song about a train with actions." 

When asked if she felt that her daughter had benefited from the experience she said, "I think play school definitely helped my daughter. She became used to the idea of being away from home for a couple of hours a day. She became more talkative and started interacting much more. Initially, when I used to play nursery rhymes for her she would ask me to switch it off. She preferred Hindi film music. Now, she enjoys listening to cassettes of nursery rhymes because they are familiar to her."
 

Benefits of play school: Reduces Separation Anxiety

Play schools prepare children for their entry into formal school. The first day of school can be quite traumatic for a child. Suddenly, he is thrust into a strange world from the warm cocoon that is home. At the age of three or four when the child goes to school for the first time, a lot is expected of him. Bawling children, clinging to their parents on the first day of school is a common sight. In Dr. Mehrotra's opinion, play school helps minimize separation anxiety. She feels that play schools prepare children to face the world, as they are more self-confident and independent, they have improved interpersonal skills and better vocabulary.
 

Benefits of play school: Meeting other Parents

Children are not the only ones who benefit from play schools. They provide parents with an external support system in terms of enhancing the child's developmental skills. In addition, parents get an opportunity to interact with other parents and keep in touch with different approaches to parenting. Parents also have a chance to observe other children and thus have a point of reference for judging their own child's behaviour. Parents can approach the trained supervisors for advice if they are facing any problems with their child at home. In other words, play schools widen parenting horizons. 
 

Are play schools a necessity?

Many parents feel that all these skills will develop in their children any way, maybe not as quickly as with play school experience, but then what's the hurry? Sonea Vasunia did not feel the need to put either of her daughters into a play school. She says, "I think play schools are just money-making schemes that are convenient places for working mothers to keep their children for a few hours a day. I feel that children are under so much pressure today that there is no need to channelize even their free time." She feels that they should be allowed to enjoy their time the way that they like. In her opinion, if a mother is a housewife and spends enough time with her children, there is no need for a play school. What about separation anxiety? Mrs. Vasunia feels that this can easily be overcome if mothers were permitted to sit in the classrooms for the first few days of nursery school just to ease their children into the school routine. 
 

A Word of Caution

Dr. Mehrotra advises all parents to check that the person running the play school is qualified and trained in the field of child development. Children have to be treated with care at this tender age. According to Dr. Mehrotra, "An unskilled person will not be aware of the developmental stages of a child. Different skills develop at different times. An untrained person will not know what to expect from a child at a certain age and may attempt to push the child beyond what he or she is capable of. This could have an adverse effect on the development of the child." So parents beware of individuals who open supposed play schools that are nothing more than glorified day care centres.

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Recent comments (214 comments)
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Comment: 
Name: Aahna
Country: India

Mu son has been going to Angels Villa Preschool for 4 months now, and he is better at everything.
 
Name: DEVESH.KUMAR
Country: India

if you want to add your PHONE NUMBER pls give the space between numbers or in email address.
 
Name: DEVESH.KUMAR
Country: India

PIONEERS IN PLAY SCHOOL DESIGNING.WE HAVE DESIGNED AROUND 24 PLAY SCHOOLS SUCCESSFULLY IN INDIA AND CAPITAL REGION TO KNOW MORE PLS CONTACT 097185 11308,vishwakaruna @ rediffm ail . c om
 
Name: DEVESH.KUMAR
Country: India

PIONEERS IN PLAY SCHOOL DESIGNING.WE HAVE DESIGNED AROUND 24 PLAY SCHOOLS SUCCESSFULLY IN INDIA AND CAPITAL REGION TO KNOW MORE PLS CONTACT 097185 11308,vishwakaruna @ rediffm ail . c om
 
Name: sarita.arya
Country: India

we moved from US to gurgoan and i was quite skeptical of a playschool system here. my son started going to LEARNING LIGHTHOUSE in DLF 1 at the age of 2 and a half. we have been with them for over a year now and i must say the school is reallu good. they have trained staff and the teachers are caring and they go by the kids preference not by a curiculum. We have had a great experiemce with them and i would recommend this school to all parents who want their kids in safe hands.
 
Name: sarita.arya
Country: India

we moved from US to gurgoan and i was quite skeptical of a playschool system here. my son started going to LEARNING LIGHTHOUSE in DLF 1 at the age of 2 and a half. we have been with them for over a year now and i must say the school is reallu good. they have trained staff and the teachers are caring and they go by the kids preference not by a curiculum. We have had a great experiemce with them and i would recommend this school to all parents who want their kids in safe hands.
 
Name: sheetal
Country: India

i just want to know schools in pune for toddler.
 
Name: Shweta G
Country: India

when i move to pune i was worried about my daughter's preschool and daycare. we finally chose scoobees in kondhwa. even though it was a new place, we were impressed with the management and sheer space and facilities.a year down i'm happy that we took the best decision after moving to pune.
 
Name: Rajiv Gupta
Country: India

i would like to know about the schooling pattern now
 
Name: Mrs.julie Velayudham.
Country: Oman

i would like to start a play school in sultanate of oman kindly provide all informations & rules and regulation for the same. thanku very much
 
Name: sagar
Country: India

i wan to know the all good play schools in south delhi for business purpose
 
Name: AMAN
Country: India

i want to know about good play school in east delhi
 
Name: shraddha
Country: India

would like to start a play school in palsana in surat, in or around brookflields. please help, in selecting a good franchise, and a good location.kids zee, euro kids & jumbo kids already exists in this area. want to know more about kangaroo kids, & shemarock. please help.
 
Name: Marina
Country: India

what is the best time for sending kids to a play school?
 
Name: Bindu
Country: India

i would like to know about some good day care centre in west delhi
 
Name: shabana
Country: U.A.E.

i would like to know the fees structure of all the kindergardens.help me in selecting a good location in sharjah and in selecting a good franchise
 
Name: KAVITHA.M
Country: India

i would like to know which school giving the proper education to the children.
 
Name: shailja monga
Country: India

i would like to open the play school cum creach please help me in selecting a good franchise and how much space i need and a suited location.iam trained nursary teacher.
 
Name: Lalitha
Country: U.A.E.

i want to know the play schools in sharjah to bring my 23 months old boy as a shining star.
 
Name: Lalitha
Country: U.A.E.

i want to know the play schools in sharjah to bring my 23 months old boy as a shining star.
 
Name: madhu
Country: India

which are all the playschools in sharjah,for my 3yrs old chap.
 
Name: Sapna
Country: India

i would like to start a play school in hyderabad, in begumpet area. please help in selecting a good franchise. can u please give me all the information regarding this...
 
Name: gh
Country: India

i want to know the addressof play schools in bangalore
 
Name: anshoo anand
Country: India

i would like to open a playschool cum creach, please help me in selecting a good franchise and i had a 2 story building in rohini {new delhi}.
 
Name: madhu
Country: India

i want to enrol my son to a play school in bangalore please suggest the best ones


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