Rohan Parikh has a BSc in Economics from Wharton Business School, an MBA from INSEAD, and a Master’s in Education from Johns Hopkins Univerity. Currently serving as the has served as the Director of the Apurva Natvar Parikh Group (ANPG) which has interests in Real Estate, Education & Hospitality. He has more than 18 years of experience in Real Estate in Mumbai and Sri Lanka, having developed Mumbai’s first major SRA development as well as residential complexes in Sri Lanka’s capital, Sri Lanka, as well developing The Fern Hotel and The Acres Club in Mumbai’s Chembur neighbourhood.
Pre-primary education or learning in the early years is critical for all students. Especially since recent research has shown us that a majority of brain growth and development takes place while children are very young, in fact between the ages of zero and five years!
This means that we as parents, educators, and policymakers must take advantage of these formative years and ensure that our toddlers are engaged in meaningful play and learning so that we are setting them up for success.
Very simply, you can think of pre-primary learning as the base of an iceberg – it is what supports and anchors the tip of the iceberg. Learning in the early years lays a foundation for students’ future learning and opportunities – academic as well as social.
In terms of academic learning, children are exposed to two of the most important building blocks of learning in pre-primary, namely – numeracy and literacy. Most academic learning going forward will require students to make use of their numeracy and literacy skills.
For example, in pre-primary students will learn how to count which enables them to learn more complex concepts like multiplication and calculus later in their lives. However, if one’s counting is weak, understanding what multiplication is about or how to do it becomes infinitely harder. Students with weak foundations therefore often get left behind or have to spend much more time and energy because they are left playing catch up!
Similarly, language and literacy skills affect how effectively students can read and communicate. And this extends far beyond learning in a Hindi or English class because for almost every subject that students learn they must be able to read, process and ask questions in their language of instruction. In fact, we see increasingly that reading and clear communication are critical to achieving success in the modern world.
More interestingly, pre-primary schooling also has a big impact on students’ social development and the building of their social-emotional skills. Being and learning in new and unfamiliar environments as well as meeting, learning and interacting with fellow students and teachers prepares students to socialize. It also puts toddlers in situations in which they learn how to manage their emotions, cooperate and share, exercise self-control and start to be independent!
In fact, researchers around the world agree that effective learning in the early years can dramatically affect students’ success in school going forward!
So the next time you peep into a pre-primary classroom and see students and teachers playing, painting, enjoying themselves or learning in ways that seem untraditional to us and you find yourself wondering whether schooling in pre-primary really is important, remind yourself of the many, life changing and long lasting benefits you just read about.