At its earliest, a child wants to pick up crayons, pens, pencils and scribble. As formal education begins, a child begins with manipulation of small muscles, tools like- crayons, pencils, scissors. Writing begins with understanding shapes, sizes, patterns and symbols. Cognitive skills, attention, memory,motivation, sequencing cultivate the academic and pedagogical culture. Social interaction, time management, language and thought stimulation develop personality and humanist and social aspects.
Pre writing and pre reading skills are a mandatory requisite in traditional academics. Just as pre writing skills are necessary for writing readiness, so are pre reading skills required for language development. These include symbol understanding, pattern recognition, letter names and phonetical awareness.
The home environment plays an equally important role in bringing about positive, developmental modifications. Parent involvement in fine and gross motor activities, experiential learning, story time, communication skills etc are a few ways to reinforce classroom teaching without the added pressure of time, peer distraction and benefit of individual attention. Learning through play activities brings about robust acquisitions in skills, knowledge and experiences.
We should rethink our approach towards early childhood education and emphasise on developmental growth. With firm foundations laid in school readiness only can we accelerate teaching and learning.
Author – Dr. Pradnya Mukherjee