PARENTING: Educating Preschoolers
· Education means mental, emotional, physical and spiritual development.
· Objective thinking ensures intellectual and emotional growth.
· Informal ways of learning are available and important, too.
· Regular study habits should be developed.
· Religious education should be practical and moderate, and, given by parents.
Teaching at preschool at a top school system is an amazing experience. Lovely, cute faces with sharp mischievous brains raise your enthusiasm and passion for teaching. I got some very precious experiences that would definitely help parents of preschoolers in various ways.
Luckily, today we have very smart kids as compared to the previous generation. In fact, the purpose of education is intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual development of tiny tots. Other than formal education at school, teaching them thinking rationally is like ensuring their mental and emotional development at the same time. They should be enabled to look around and understand different facts and happenings within their environment before they make a decision or ask for something. For example, a new comer of my class (Nursery), who seemed scared and shy, used to ask me every morning right after entering the classroom: “Teacher, kia home time ho jai ga”? (Teacher, will we have home-time today?)
For a couple of days I used to say, “Yes, certainly”. But when he kept on asking me the same question for a couple of days, one day I asked him, “Do you have your home-time every day”? He said, “Yes”. I replied, “Similarly, you will have it today, also”. The same conversation continued for a few more days until the kid got the fact and stopped worrying about going home. This is what parents can, also, help them do.
Children should spend a few hours on studies daily as a habit. It keeps them intellectually sharp and academically strong. It is not necessary that they study only in case of homework or school days. Apart from homework, they can spend some time with art work (drawing/coloring/painting/ joining number dots), reading story books, playing with educational toys, e.g. puzzles, block building, mechano, some Montessori material available in the market, enjoying working on educational CD’s or educational websites for preschoolers.
As Muslims, we should not leave our children’s religious education to Qaari/Molvi sahib, as they usually have incomplete concept of religion. We, ourselves, should introduce them to the practical and moderate philosophy of the religion according to their age before one day they are influenced by some Imam-e-masjid and become an extremist. We have to give them the concept of religion in a wider sense where whole life is, practically, worship to God. For example, we just tell them about the Love of God for us. We can make them feel thankful to Him for his blessings for us, and motivate them to thank Him by taking good care of His blessings; like, we have to take care of our eye-sight by studying in suitable light/watching TV at a right distance, we have to take care of His given health by eating enough health
food, we have to take care of our family members and other relations, we have to be honest and truthful as God is there all the time, etc.
All the time sitting in front of TV and computer is very unhealthy. All educational activities should be balanced by giving them opportunities to go for physical play, e.g. cycling, playing football, etc.