Monday, February 28, 2011

Who will rescue me from this jail called Pre-school?

I am a 4 yr old child. A few months ago my mum told me that she would take me to a wonderful place called "pre-school" where I would learn
many new things and have many friends. I looked forward to that day with eagerness and also apprehension as I would have to leave my dear
mum for the first time. I was not prepared for the shock that awaited me. When I entered the place called classroom I saw a "sea" of
children all seated in rows. A young lady said hello to me and took me by the hand. I had to leave my mum and was almost in tears. My mum told me that I had to call her teacher and that she would now be like a mother to me in school. I wondered about the way she did certain things - they were quite different from what my mum does.
Didn't she know that I did not like sitting on a bench for 3 hours everyday? At home I spent most of my time on the floor playing and learning with my mum. Didn't she know that I had to talk to my
friends to learn language and that I was not yet ready to read and write? Why did she ask me to use a pencil when it was so difficult to hold? How did she expect me to write on such narrow lines? This is the most boring thing I ever had to do. Couldn't she give me something more interesting, more challenging, more fulfilling? Why does she think that when I play I am wasting my time? Doesn't she know that I learn many things while I play? While playing with water
I learn important concepts like wet and dry, sink and float and even heavy and light. I learn the properties of water and also learn new words. How can I learn to speak when all the time I hear teacher saying "Keep Quiet". Why do I have to learn to write so many numbers when my brother in Class 1 has to learn the same thing- numbers to 99 only. Can't I learn that when I am 6 years? Mummy says that soon I will have to go to a "big school" and so I must get ready for the "interview". What is that? I heard my cousin telling my dad that he was getting a new job and had to go for an interview. I do not want to work now, I do not want a job now then why do I have to go for an interview? Why do I have to carry this heavy bag? I am so small. I want to sing, dance, run, play and use my mind but all they make me do is to sit in a classroom full of children and repeat the same things over and over again. Why do they treat me like an animal in a circus?
Don't they know that I want to touch things and feel them, smellthem, taste them to learn more about them. I am not allowed to move out of my place and my bench is so high that I find it difficult to keep my feet on the ground. My legs pain a lot and I am not at all
comfortable sitting on the hard bench for long. Why can't I paint,draw and stick things the way I want. Why do I have to use the same colour my teacher uses? Why can't I be different? Why do I have to be the same as the rest of my friends? Is someone out there listening to my silent cry? Can any out there fight for the cause of young children who have not yet learnt to express themselves verbally? Can anyone out there rescue me from this jail called pre-school?...............

- Anna Coelho, Soccoro, Porvorim,
Anna Coelho is a Pre-school Teacher by profession and at present the Director of Wee-Attitudes Centre for Excellence in Early Childhood Care and Education. She has been training pre-school teachers at Nirmala Institute and also been involved in the process of skills
upgradation of pre-school teachers of Diocesan schools in Goa. Anyone wishing to support her venture of revolutionalising pre-school education in Goa may contact her at 9850489544 or 2410565 or at valyana@gmail.com

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