Education plays an integral role in our lives, and the base of this education begins from the crucial age group of three years. The age which is most significant in the terms that the child has to initiate the journey of his or her entire life from this platform. In today’s time, education is something very significant, and if one has to be social both in terms of communication and representation, proper learning and gaining of knowledge is required. Early learning is based on 3E’s, i.e. Environment, Exploration, and Education.
“The first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out.”
The famous saying by Bill Gates senior represents how Pre-primary or Play way learning is the base of child early learning concepts where the Development of the child fully depends on how the emotional and social background is taken into consideration. The child’s mind is the empty vessel, and what we pour into it; the empty vessel absorbs it. So, in terms, knowledge, and learning should be such that it should not create a clash between learning and understanding or exploration and experiments. The child learns from the surroundings, and the surrounding should be sound, safe, and healthy. It should be full of space and freedom to let children explore their inner self and their creativity.
Importance of Schools for Preschoolers:
Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society. What education we have in the past and what changes we are now watching is commendable. Experiments in learning concepts have made this platform more simple and easy for them to explore and discover. The freedom the child now a day is getting is far more vast and simplified, which was not there a few years back. Now children can learn by doing, which is learning by doing practical theory; this helps in more diverse and deep knowledge of the concept the teacher wants to cover.
Preschool education is the theory of basic knowledge of the things around the child to know themselves, their families, their society the do’s and don’t they should understand. Learning by doing concepts helps in the cognitive development of the child where the child by doing and gaining practical knowledge, is thinking and exploring simultaneously.
They learn different methods of understanding each concept. For example, learning the concept of colour is far simplified, where various things are shown to them related to the colour they are learning. They can dress as their favourite fruit or vegetable or anything according to the concept they are covering, and of course, parents play an equally important role in this social learning process. They provide more healthy access to this environment they are living in.
Parents involve themselves in their learning process providing what excellence they can to ease their grasping and exploring nature children are becoming more self – centred and this self-centred behaviour leads to building up of their confidence and strong interactive skills.
Changes in learning Patterns: Online Education
After the global pandemic, the corona has changed everything apart — there is change everywhere. The superstructure of the economy has changed. So is the case with the education system. The education system has changed drastically. Schools, Colleges, Universities, and learning institutions are closed to safeguard the children and learners from this virus.
This critical situation has changed the life of the education system, especially the Preschoolers for those who are about to keep their first learning step to the outside world. What practical life teaches us has now been confined to the online screen. The gap has to be bridged between the child, and the teacher has now a screen fit between them. It’s already a very difficult and hard task to introduce the world to the new learners in a colourful way. It requires great effort both by teachers and parents to let them understand the new concepts and things and now the screen time has left us with the no option but to learn while sitting at the ease of our place.
Is this the right age to sit in front of the screen and understand the things?
Is 3 to 5 years of age enough to understand the meaning of what online education is? The teachers who used to welcome them with happy faces on the first day of their school life are now sitting in front of them on a virtual basis. Do they understand the concept of education, and can they adjust themselves to perform activities that they are being taught?
The virtual world brings in front various pros and cons of the situation small children are very difficult to understand and grasp the concept of virtual is known as compared to the seniors the sense of responsibility is very difficult for them to understand the tender age where the learning is hidden in the playing is filled with the tensions and conclusions of the online study on one side they are taught to stay away from Screen Time Tv is mobiles and laptops. The other side is forcing them to sit and sit in front of the screen for hours is this what is left for them to explore.
The burden which parents work kind of relieved by sending them to school has now overcrowded them in all other respects. Dancing, singing, learning everything is confined to the screen, and we have no other option but to follow the guidelines of the school. When the child starts learning for the first time and searching for Independence to do something and learn something new that is the right age for the child to build confidence in them, and this confidence is very important for their entire lives. They learn to laugh, cry, smile, and even command. These are all aspects of the learning environment, and this environmental factor is possible only when the child follows the proper way of going to school, the time table set up to follow, and the rules they have to abide by; this following of rules is quite difficult for them when it comes to the virtual studies. Schools are on to finishing off the syllabus as they have taken the admission fees. Parents are also eager to make them learn what they can’t teach them on a formal basis. Not only the activities, the prayers, and morning assembly part is also possible now in the virtual world. Small children are very small to sit in one place. Sometimes it’s very difficult for them to understand what is expected of them. They are listening to rhymes, stories, and their curriculum from mobile screens, laptops, and computers without understanding what school life is.
Importance of Pragmatic Learning In Context of Online Vs Real
Pragmatic learning deals with the aspects of experiential learning. That is the gaining of knowledge in the form of learning by doing or in the form of practical knowledge. This way of learning is very important for all age groups, but it plays a special role for Preschoolers. Preschoolers learn from their environment and learning by doing is the best way to understand every small concept more clearly and in perfection. The learning by doing concept is more focused and clear when it is done in real life, and when this learning is followed in the virtual form, it becomes a bit difficult for such small students to learn and understand. There is a far difference between virtual learning and going to school and learning.
Cognitive learning and development of the Child
Cognitive Development is the way a child learns by thinking and exploring things around and figuring out the dos and don’ts related to the things. This knowledge requires skills, Development and problem solving, and this leads to the understanding of the concepts. Regular schooling provides better experiential learning and gives a better environment to explore. The child learns better with their peer groups and learning alone online, hampers the interest and mood of the children.
Positive and Negative side of Online Learning:
It is very important to understand both the positive and negative effects of learning on online platforms.
The positive side is as follows:
Online learning gives ease to children to study as per their convenience. They don’t have to follow any proper timetable to attend their classes. The online platforms schools are using are Microsoft team, Zoom app, Google classroom, etc. There are many other ways where the child can find easy access to learning not only the school curriculum, but there are also many online classes of art and craft, instrumental and vocal, dancing, Judo Taekwondo, calligraphy, etc. Now parents can take proper precautions to make their child stay at home and let them learn different skills. Apart from studies, there is also access to online tuitions where children can safely learn without going anywhere in this pandemic situation. Learning has given many open opportunities to learn and explore, giving ease and comfort to learn and study according to their requirement. There are now show and tell activities, show your talent activities for small kids, thus making them familiar with what the school life is. Drawing classes, singing, yoga classes, speaking courses, English grammar classes, Life skills development, etc. all can be taught in online classes. Teachers and training staff provide their best output to help children to learn and utilise that time in something useful. Parents are also equally involved in this learning and understanding concepts process, thus allowing them the opportunity to explore and understand. New innovative ways to teach their kids and spend their time together, which they use to miss out earlier. Also if there are no online classes, then the child would waste their time watching TV, videos, and mobile phones, and retain these online burden classes are given, giving some sort of hope that yes at least a child can learn something without wasting their time. Also, the eye relaxation exercise, meditation on online mode is giving children a sort of healthy atmosphere in one or the other form. There are co-curricular activities, celebrations of festivals like Eid, Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtami, etc. dressing up of the child in one or the other characters and speaking lines on it, is all possible now in virtual form.
Negative Side of Online Learning:
There are also negative sides of online learning apart from gaining knowledge by sitting at the ease of the home; there are various pros and cons related to this. Children are often confined to the screen learning time more and more thus proving very harmful for their mental as well as their physical growth because they are not able to go outside to play games and sports which were equally important at the time when they used to go to school. Online studies don’t focus on the physical development of the child. There are issues related to writing practice as these children start their base from preschools that are very difficult to teach these beginners from home. Few parents have access to smartphones, android phones, laptops, and computers, but few don’t have access to smartphones, laptops, etc. It becomes very difficult for such parents to provide this means of learning to their child. Even they don’t have another way out to provide education to them, either they quit, or they have to sell their hard-earned money. Their crucial savings to purchase mobile phones, costly laptops, and computers so that their children can have a good education. Also, few children are not ready to cooperate with their parents and are not ready to study. They demand unnecessary things from their parents, harmful eatables, junk foods to attend their classes. Sometimes there are severe network issues, and those who are not having WiFi connections are not able to attend the online session properly so many things get missed. A very known example that came in front of everyone is of a Himachal man who sold out his cow to purchase an android phone for his daughter to give her education. This is what has made the online learning program quite difficult for both parents and children. There is bulk buying of laptops and android electronic gadgets, earphones, headphones, speakers, etc. and the increase in buying aspirants have no other option left to give their child proper learning. There is a huge crowd at eye clinics because children are facing dry eye problems, low concentration problems, and lack of interest in learning something interesting. If the child has done any activity wonderfully and if there is a network issue the child is not able to to get the proper grading out of it.
Last but not least, online learning or the virtual world has changed the whole structure of education. Various educational changes have come into consideration; the webinars and play-way method by going online and receiving knowledge is gaining popularity nowadays. Schools are also giving ample opportunities for children to explore themselves. We can only wait for the things to get changed and the school reopens. The children get opportunities to interact with their new friends and their teachers, thus giving them more opportunity to enjoy the school atmosphere that is equally important for the development of the child.
Thus “The Goal of Early Childhood Education Should Be To Activate The child’s Own Natural Desire To Learn” — Maria Montessori.