Bumped into a friend yesterday at the market. Talked about this and that and the chat slowly shifted to kids and how they were doing in their new life in school. I told her my daughter was having a lovely time, that she wants to go to school even on a weekend. My friend looked at me and shrugged her shoulders.
"I don't know what to do now.He (referring to her three-year-old son) will just not listen to what the teacher says. He has never sat still in one place and now I am always being told by the teacher how he is so indisciplined. And how I am I supposed to teach him so many things all of a sudden?"
"So many things? What do you mean? What do you have to teach him all of a sudden?" I asked.
"Oh, the numbers, counting, reading and writing, and alphabets and birds and sentences and shapes and this and that and everything. Whats the point of sending him to school if I have to teach him everything?"
I realised where the discussion was headed. After some more talking and sharing we parted ways.
Thankfully, I have not had to go through this tough situation my friend has landed herself in.I understand her predicament. It is indeed difficult to suddenly sit down with a three-year-old and teach him, as my friend put it, 'everything'.
But what if that 'everything' is just a part of play? What if you don't need to teach it to your child, but instead, your little one loves it on her own and asks you to do more of it?
There are so many ways we can teach the essentials to our children. Times have changed.Earlier, school began much later.Today, the age limit has shrunk, but the expectations and the standard of teaching and learning has only gone up.
I remember when my daughter was born I had got a whole set of baby books for her, all those soft cloth ones that we would sit and read together, of course I read them to her. She did not understand any of it at that age,but the one thing she learned was that listening to someone read is fun.And as she was growing, her interest in books began to grow as well.It was soon a routine to see her sitting in one place and go through books,admiring the pictures and running her fingers over the alphabets just as she had seen mommy do.No wonder her next curiosity was to know what these alphabets were.So followed the game of A B C.We played this game many times,while playing ball, we would toss the ball to each other and I would sing the alphabet song.As she grew I would say A and she would say B and we would go all the way till Z.
Similarly we played the number game.Whenever we came on a staircase my daughter would hold my hand and hop and I would go 1 2 3..now she is 3 and can count till 50.
The garden was a place she loved to go and I had a chance to show her the plants and birds.We learned the shapes together with toys - a round ball, a heart locket, a rectangle carpet, an oval egg, a square box...the shapes got more interesting as she discovered new objects to name.
The conversation game happened all the time...we talked and talked about anything and everything, and still do.We played with the dolls,putting them in make-believe situations and talking about things.
She learned the world of colours through everyday things that came her way - a blue bib, a white bottle, a pink cap, a red frock, black shoes, green ball, purple sketchpen, golden sun, silver moon.
And the kitchen was the best place to learn her vegetables and fruits.
Thankfully, I did not have a tough time teaching her any of this. It was more of a game for her and even for me, and more than I enjoyed teaching her, she loved learning all the new things of the big wide world.
It is really easy to teach our little ones about these basics in education by using the simplest and most interesting ways, available to us right in our homes, every single day.