We, at Podar Jumbo Kids pride on being the pioneers for numerous practices in the field, lead by our Director Dr Swati Popat Vats. We are the first chain of pre-schools to have EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) authorization from the United Kingdom as a part of our curriculum framework. We introduced ‘Number Magic’ a numeracy program which gives form to abstract numbers for young children. Our language program called ‘Symphonics’ has helped kindergarteners excel at reading skills by giving them a proper understanding of the soft sounds of letters, diagraphs and blends.
However our unique Life Skill and Parent Partnership Program which we implement in our school festivals and events, supersede the above academic achievements. Here we go beyond the surface level of festivals and occasions, and aim to celebrate the underlying values they represent. By involving the parents in the execution of the same, we hope the learning move beyond the school and are implemented in the child’s home-life as well. The effects and response to this mindfulness are truly momentous and awe-inspiring; when we see the children absorb and practice the life-lessons we bring to the fore.
Life skills like compassion, sharing, friendship, resilience, courage in the face of adversity and many others are taught to children through the activities they participate in and enjoy during each celebration. We have come to realize the importance of Life Skills Education and how EQ (Emotional Quotient) is as important as IQ (Intelligence Quotient). These important skills are emphasized and learned through the spirit of festival giving the children and parents a unique perspective towards the culture of community and empathy. Festivals are not celebrated for their religious implications, but rather for their cultural heritage and the spirit of community skills.
Instead of being a simple day off, national events are celebrated on the same day, to ensure the children understand the historical importance of the day and understand its implications on the present. In every event parents are invited to the school to celebrate and participate with their children, to strengthen the child’s belief that they are a part of a collaborative, harmonious and supportive environment. Parents often miss out on essential play-time with their children, and are unable to give them undivided attention because of professional and household obligations. However, at the school events they are placed in a space free of distractions to simply be a child with their offspring, while enjoying the myriad activities on hand.
Out of the 45 different events we hold, here are a few of my favourites that show the ways we have co-opted the traditional celebrations, and given them our own unique spin -
l Gandhi Jayanti- Bapu ke anek roop – educating parents and children on the different roles our father of the nation fulfilled in his life time that of a lawyer, weaver, scavenger, potter etc.
l Gurunanak Jayanti – the theme is ‘Wisdom, Power and Knowledge’- Implying that the attributes of Gurunanakji is focused on, imbibed and practiced instead of celebrating it religiously.
l Janmashtami – ‘Milk and Milk products help me grow, give me more, give me more.’ – Children learn about healthy eating habits and understand the process and benefits of consuming milk products during growing years.
l Halloween – ‘Fear will run when we have Halloween fun’ – With shadow play and neon lit dark rooms as a couple of activities for children, make them realize that shadows or darkness which they are scared of are more fictitious fear than real.
l Rakshabandhan – Children make the rakhies and they go and tie to trees and pants with the promise to protect the environment.
l Kartavya – silent walkathon by children and parents to advocate safety on roads and urging people to follow traffic rules and regulations.
Our anniversary celebrations do not rely on pop-culture references and themes, instead we choose a specific theme that would be fun & educational for the children, every year. We immerse the children in the history and understanding behind the theme for months leading up to the annual day, so that they are not merely repeating lines but are rather sharing the insight they have gained. This is shared in the form of a musical extravaganza that is written in-house by our educators and represents almost every state and culture of the nation, like the last year’s theme ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ or this year’s ‘Weaves of India’.
Parents are encouraged to participate with DIY Prop-Making Parties and a special Parent’s Dance, which also fosters a kinship between the educators and the families.
The themes for the annual Sports Meet also showcase that learning can be fun through a playful and stress-free experience. This year ‘Sports With The Magic Of Numbers’ had children doing math activities and gaining numerical skills on the race track. A Sports Meet is not about competition or winning but about completing the task at hand and learning from it. We implement a 100% participation policy to include every child and foster the spirit of sportsmanship over competition by presenting each child with a certificate.
Teaching academic subjects or life subjects needs to have a wider range of focus which reduces the dependency on books and classrooms. Let’s take every opportunity to make learning experiential and engaging through play and hands-on activities.
Keeping up with our promise to give our children the best, with the onset of new year we inaugurated our play area for the Kindergarten children.