The Spanning Kids School believes that every child is special and unique. So, a curriculum that is being implemented must take into consideration the fact that children come with different abilities, skills and backgrounds. Also, parents admit their children into preschool at different ages. Children get admitted into the preschool throughout the year and the age that they come into the preschool also determines the stage of development that they are at. Hence, the curriculum must take into consideration all these factors and ensure an individual education plan (IEP) can be tailored for every child.
The ages of 0 to 6 years is one of the most important periods of any individual’s life because of the amount and the nature of brain development that happens during this period. Preschools play an extremely important role during this period. We believe preschools are NOT places where the child just spends 2-3 hours a day and it is just a preparation for the child to get out of the house and into a regular school. We do not believe preschools are only places where the child learns to socialize with other children, has fun, does some colouring, dance, music etc. and learns to be away from home. These will be part of any preschool, but a good preschool education goes a long way beyond just these basic requirements. Preschools are probably the most important institutions in the child’s life where if the child is provided with the right environment, it will go a long way in shaping the child’s attitudes and abilities in the future.
We believe that since the child has enormous ability to absorb and learn during this period, the child needs to be exposed to a “Structured” environment where he/she is exposed to a variety of concepts from practical life skills, sensorial, motor skills, language skills, mathematics, geography, science, cultural, themes, and more. Most preschools do expose the child to a few of these concepts, but again, the focus is only on basic skills like letters, numbers etc. Our belief is that the child is capable of absorbing more advanced concepts than just the basic ones during the preschool years provided they are given the right tools which helps them understand these concepts. For e.g., in the The Spanning Kids School’s curriculum, the child is exposed to concepts like place value system by the time they are 4 years old, and children are exposed to reading 3 letter words in language. Children are exposed to addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and even up to fractions in mathematics, and concepts like phonograms, word formation, sentence formation, grammar etc. in language by the time they reach the age of 6 years. We believe that with a structured approach and with the right tools, these are not impossible, and the conceptual learning that the child is exposed to at this stage will go a long way in helping them in higher education.
Since the child is developing so fast, there is a huge difference between a child of age 2 years and a child of age 2 years 4 months. Even a month makes a huge difference in the child during these early years. This is the reason we focus heavily on individual activities with the materials where each child is doing his / her activities based on the curriculum plan for him / her. This is also the reason we do not believe in an education system that bunches all children in a playgroup between the ages of 2 to 3 years and a nursery class between the ages of 3 to 4 years knowing very well that within a playgroup / nursery each child is at a different level based on their inherent abilities, when they joined the playschool and their age. This is also why a daily rigid curriculum plan that is followed in many preschools especially the franchisee preschools is not in the interest of the children who are all at different levels and the topic of the day may be relevant for a few but irrelevant for most of the others in the group. That is the reason we say our curriculum is child centric as it is focussed on the needs of the child whereas the daily fixed plan curriculum that most preschools follow is a teacher centric curriculum made with the needs of the teacher in mind. The preschool is ultimately for the child and the teachers are just an enabler – hence the curriculum cannot be focussed on the teacher but on the child and what it does for the child.
Consequently, we follow a mixed age classroom where children are not segregated based on their ages as playgroup, nursery, LKG etc. Instead, children work in an environment pursuing their activities of interest, exploring and learning to the best of their abilities. Each child during their individual time is focused on different activities. This mixed age environment also helps significantly in improving the social bonding between children and brings encourages the elder children to be caring and supportive. The younger children learn faster looking at the elder ones. This forms the more important and larger part of their learning.
We do have small group and large group activities during a small part of the day where emphasis is on areas of development like public speaking, expression, social negotiation and so on.
In a The Spanning Kids School, the child learns to be independent, self disciplined and learns through exploration and discovery. Hence, it is important that the curriculum, teachers, environment and the preschool as a whole provides all this to the child to aid his development. So, the child needs to be exposed to a child-centric curriculum where the child is given the individual time, freedom, independence and choice to explore and learn as opposed to a teacher-centric curriculum.