- They actually published this contribution in the annual school magazine 😀
On one of the first few days of the school year I was summoned to the classroom (nursery C), “your kid is bawling”. Turns out this year it was anxiety related to separation from her teachers in playgroup. A lot of kids were bawling (barring a few who were “running out of the class, bawling!”). I sat there holding our baby, while the teachers got busy making the other slightly settled kids comfortable. After a while a couple of playgroup teachers popped in and all the kids flocked to them as if the kids were chick and the play group teachers were mother hen (bad idea worse analogy, but then this was an emotional day for everybody). I remember one of the teachers for our kids Nursery section thinking out loud “wow they love their playgroup teachers so much, will we ever be that popular with these kids” and I remember what I told her “don’t worry they’ll be as attached to you by the end of the year”.
Today, with a few days left before she gets promoted to Jr KG, her biggest worry is “maam will not be there in Jr. KG”. Kids are that simple and that easy. It does not take rocket science, gadgets, or gimmicks to win them over. All it takes is genuine affection, sincerity and involvement. Basically it takes a lot of your time.
Goldcrest understands this golden rule of engagement with kids. It’s a school which is not in a hurry to prepare “rats for the race”. An incident in this regard comes to mind; when our girl was around a year old a mom with an older kid smugly admonished us “she doesn’t know her eyes, mouth, nose??? You should teach her, my kid used to point to them well before she started walking!”… We rolled our eyes (in our minds) and walked on. I mean how many stable grown ups do we know in the world who shovel food into their nose, wear specs on their mouth and use an inhaler in the eyes??! What, seriously, is the big hurry?
Research shows that kids can actually build up stress and anxiety if you herd them into structured writing with pencils at a very early age. A lot of schools we know of have obviously not heard of this research. Schools pride themselves on making kids write copious amounts with pencils even when in nursery. Exams for nursery kids are held religiously. This early in life, examinations accomplish nothing except putting kids off thinking and encouraging rote learning. Goldcrest understands the importance of a non-stressed, holistic approach to learning. They understand that cramming is a natural trait, which unfortunately, the world will automatically teach the kids as they grow. The more important skills are sharing, co-existence, sincerity, truthfulness, teamwork, appreciation…basically life skills which at this age are more important for the child to pick up.
The student teacher ratio at GCH ensures that faculty are cued in into every kid. Meal at school is not just about nutrition it is also about bonding, friendship, sharing and co-existence. So far all the extra curricular activities have been completely down to earth while not compromising on the fun factor. Unlike other schools the emphasis, at GCH, is not on how much homework the parents can do rather it is on how much of teamwork the parents and kids can enjoy. Recently a “community helper day” was organized at school and kids were asked to come in dressed as a community helper of their choice. Most schools would assign roles and expect a visit to the “dresswala”. The directive at GCH was “kids choice and no dress for hire”! Think out of the box, more importantly be creative.
Simple things about the school that one encounters almost daily make a lot of positive difference for a kid and so far GCH is doing it all correct. Sure things can be better but then everyone has to work towards it, just the school trying hard is not going to help unless we join in with a helping hand as well. After all “Ora na azu nwa” (it takes a village to raise a child – Nigerian proverb) ☺