Pratham 12:30:00 PM
Holding a flash card with a photo of an Octopus on it Pooja questioned her tiny students, “What is this?” A chorus of ‘Octopus’ resonated through the room but one boy yelled out, “Yeh bhoot hai (This is a ghost)!” We looked at each other and burst out laughing. This 4 year old boy decided to disagree with the entire class and stretched his imagination to guess the creature. He was promptly corrected but he surely gave us a good laugh.
As the flash card activity continued other children tried to interpret the pictures in their own way which turned it into a new game altogether.
This Balwadi is one of the many Pratham Balwadis that function in Pune city of Maharashtra. It is a delight to see a bunch of kids reciting poems and indulging in interactive sessions like puppet shows and storytelling. The children are full of surprises. Nishka is another five year old who avoided any eye contact with visitors but loved to show off her talent of reciting stories. She would start off by introducing herself and narrate a story without any pause or confusion. She recited three long stories in the same organized manner and did not show any sign of exhaustion. Her teacher informed us that she started telling stories in one of the Balwadi’s puppet show activities. Nishka would go ahead and create her own versions as well.
Some say pre-schools are unnecessary, some say they turn out to be an added burden on children while some look at it as a waste of effort. But as we see kids get along, play, draw, sing, talk and indulge in so many creative activities we wonder is it truly unnecessary?
The little ones prove an interesting fact: It is never too late to educate yourself and it is never too early to begin learning as well.