Which is the best curriculum in Kindergarten?

  • Blog By
    Sumita Sen Mazumdar
    Principal – Erode KG Campus
    The Indian Public School – Erode.
    July, 19 2023 | In Blog

How do children learn?

In the early years, children learn by observing and doing. In the age group of 1.5 to 6 years, the child is in the absorbent mind stage wherein they ‘acquire’ more than they can be taught. This is why in the early years, the prepared environment in school becomes so important. If we want a child to develop language, especially English, which is not the mother tongue in a country like India, we must first create a school environment with ample natural opportunities for listening and speaking the language, before we can think of reading and writing. This is what defines mastery over oral and written language in the later years when the child moves to the logical mind stage. Engagements like daily-life activity descriptions (how do you brush your teeth, how do you get ready for school), object talk or show and tell, conversation cards, role plays, etc., help the child develop the SVO (subject-verb-object) pattern of communication effortlessly. This is mostly why children who do Playgroup and PRE-KG are much more confident in language delivery along with other life skills, later on in life, compared to their peers who start school directly in KG 1.

For math in the early years, it is important we move from concrete learning to abstract. The very first pre-math activity would be sorting and categorizing according to shape or size, differentiating between attributes like big and small, large and heavy, long and short, wide and narrow, thick and thin, tall and short, etc. This way, children learn to observe the attributes of quality followed by quantity and finally, numbers, which initially would be an abstract concept for them. By working with physical quantities that are representative of each number, they gain an understanding of first 1 to 20 and then 21 to 100.

Exercises of practical living, PE, dance, and arts & crafts activities provide the scope for becoming independent in movements and taking care of daily tasks, as well as fine motor and gross motor development. These must be a part of early years curriculum. Larger body movements or gross motor movements, midline crossing activities are essential, not only for developing a strong core, balance and coordination but also a better integration of right brain and left brain, i.e., creativity and logic. Fine motor movements like those of the small muscles of the hands are required for writing and other fine tasks. These movements and eye-hand coordination are developed naturally when a child does practical life activities like threading, lacing, wiping, buttoning, etc., or arts and crafts activities like painting, cutting, tearing, pasting, etc.

EVS or Environmental Studies helps to give an understanding of the larger world around us, such as science, social, cultural, geographical elements, etc. Children learn through activities, the roles of various community helpers such as doctors, police officers, teachers, etc. They learn about the different kinds of animals – wild animals and domestic animals, sea creatures, birds and land animals. Seasons, weather, festivals and celebration days of the world are some of the other areas the children are familiarized with, in this area of kindergarten curriculum.

A blended Montessori curriculum offers significant advantages

The Montessori led curriculum of TIPS Erode KG is a blended one and what makes this an excellent approach is that the basic areas of learning in Montessori – Language, Math, Exercises of practical life (EPL), Sensorial learning and Culture (EVS) are blended with select practices from other curriculum such as Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Playway, International Baccalaureate (IB), making it a wonderful curriculum for an early years child. STEM learning, imagination-fostering storytelling and arts & crafts, activity-inducing prepared environments with pre-determined learning outcomes, inquiry led conversation themes and more are some of the blended additions to our curriculum.

Montessori as a curriculum has been around since the early 1900’s and the practical hands-on approach to learning is what makes it excellent. There is a realistic acceptance that every child is unique, they must be viewed as beings whose needs and choices are to be respected. It was Maria Montessori who extensively shared with the world that children go through different sensitive periods of learning. During 0 to 3 is when they are most sensitive to language development. A sensitive period can be considered a window of opportunity for learning a specific skill or knowledge area. The five main categories of sensitive periods are: order, language, sensory skills, movement and social skills. These have been discussed in detail in another TIPS Kindergarten blog, which you may read if you wish to

One size does not fit all

As the world has evolved, so must our learning approaches. How a child learns in the early years is very different from how they would in middle school or secondary. A one-size fits all approach cannot be taken in kindergarten if we are to build a strong foundation of language, number literacy and self-regulation. It is precisely a deep respect of this concept that makes the Montessori Kindergarten curriculum at TIPS KG an ideal one for children.

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June 2024