KLAY (Kids Learning And You) Preschools and Daycare hosted the 2nd edition of its International Summit on Early Years (ISEY) yesterday. The Summit, which is one of the largest platforms on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in India, was held online this year. The objective was to bring together educators, caregivers, and policy experts to chime in on building a better tomorrow for children in the current context.
The premise of ISEY 2020 was that childhood today has changed and is nothing like what was imagined two decades ago. Currently, more children are out of school than ever, confined within the safety of their homes, and with some of their basic rights under threat. On the other hand, we are witnessing the tipping point of online education with the explosion of mobile and digital technology, especially in a country like India which has skipped an entire generation of technology. We are nurturing a breed of independent thinkers while we navigate the blurring lines between work and life, as we know it.
As the ECCE industry charts a new course for the future of education and care, experts from across the world came together virtually to discuss cohesive solutions to nurture a child’s social and emotional development in the new scheme of things. Overall, the tone and message of the discussions were hopeful, noting that children today face a unique set of challenges and opportunities and that it is a great time to be raising children.
As part of his welcome address, AK Srikanth, founder & CEO, KLAY said, “In the last 9 years, children were at the centre of everything we do and will be for the next 90 years to come. It is a great honour to be hosting this platform on behalf of the entire industry and I look forward to the valuable conversations we will have in the course of the next couple of hours.”
The online conference witnessed esteemed keynote speakers such as:
- Dr. Rebecca Isbell, International Speaker, Prolific Author, and Expert on Creative Development, who delivered the keynote address on ‘United to Nurture Young Creative Thinkers Who Can Flourish in the Changing 21st Century World’
- Meeta Sengupta, Founder of the Centre of Education Strategy, who spoke on ‘Enabling Adjacent Mindsets – The Shift to Pivot and Purpose in Early Years’
- Esha Deol – Actor, Dancer and Author, who shared her experience on ‘Taking the Drama Out of Mama – Embracing the Adventures of Motherhood’ in a freewheeling conversation
- Panel discussion on ‘Together, Apart: Uniting Efforts for Children in the New World Order’ with Parul Ohri – Chief Editor at Momspresso, Esha Deol, Fareeha Rizwan – Principal at Futuraskolan International Preschool (Sweden) and Rishikesh B S – Associate Professor at Zim Premji University, as panelists
While delivering her keynote, Dr. Rebecca Isbell said “Children today are faced with various uncertainties and a future that we never anticipated. Our goal as parents/ educators is to nurture young creative thinkers, help them communicate their ideas, teach them to collaborate with others and solve problems on their own. Young children are already capable creative thinkers. We need to nurture their ability by creating opportunities for children to explore their creativity and challenge them to think in unique ways in the early years. Creativity is a not frill, it is an essential 21st century life skill which is of utmost importance for children in today’s context.”
Meeta Sengupta added “As educators and caregivers, we are not only here to provide answers for children. We are guides to help students keep up their search to help them identify their potential on their own. I would recommend three key tools for teachers and parents while pursuing this approach: Listen with cognition, be consistent to build trust, and practice follower-ship. The third part is important and involves paying attention to their needs, choices and opinions, to be able to mould our children into what they truly aspire to become rather than forcing our aspirations upon them.”
Esha Deol, as part of the conversation, said “For me this is a new journey, becoming a mother. I think every woman, every girl, goes through a major transformation when she embraces motherhood. As new mothers, we have many overwhelming, yet exciting moments. No matter how well prepared you think you are, there are always new surprises that comes your way. Whether it is breastfeeding, post-partum depression, or the many voices in your head and people telling you what to do – be sure to follow your motherly instinct. Also, it is our duty and privilege to mould our children into being the best version of themselves. I have two daughters and I have to make sure to shape them into strong women with dignity and self-respect.”
As part of the panel discussion, Parul Ohri, said, “Parents and teachers are the most important stakeholders in a child’s life, hence it’s essential for them to work in partnership with each other rather than indulging in power hierarchies. Parent and teacher communities can work together as strong influencers to impact policy change in educational systems. Our end object is common – a promising future for our children, for which we need to focus on inculcating those skill sets that prepare them for life.”
While delivering the closing note, Meghna Yadav, Head – Training And Development, KLAY said, “I would like to highlight that ISEY 2020 is our tribute to teachers across the world who have been the real heroes. At a time when schools are closed, teachers embraced the spirit of entrepreneurship to find solutions individually or in groups to help families adapt to the new learning environment and ensure learning continuity.”
ISEY is one of India’s largest global summits in the ECCE space, which aims at addressing modern-day issues of early childhood and charting future courses of action on one single platform.