Thursday, January 19, 2017

In Conversation With Co-Owner of Koco Kids, The New PreSchool And Play Area Launched In Mumbai

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Most preschools and kindergarten institutes these days are offering a hands-on learning approach, so how is Koco Kids different?

Koco Kids is different because of our curriculum, our facilitators, our equipment and our overall ethos. We are extremely focused on what is developmentally and psychologically appropriate for children and have created an environment that promotes imagination, play and discovery as a medium to achieve learning. Everything from the color of our walls to the size of our blocks has been chosen considering the appropriateness for little children and how it can contribute to creating a developmentally sound environment. Our curriculum is a beautiful blend of marquee preschool educators like Madam Montessori, Reggio and Waldorf, with a healthy dose of play. We have borrowed the best from each school of teaching, modified it to make it relevant to life skills needed in today's times and thus created a unique method of teaching. We believe in letting children grow at their own pace, bringing out the uniqueness in every child and inculcating a lifelong love for learning.

Unlike other schools, we don't expect such small children to sit still at a place and listen to us. We encourage them to stay active and involved and thus our children move rooms every half an hour. Each classroom is thematic and focuses on developing a specific learning skill eg. - one room is dedicated to fine motor skills development, one to music and dance, one to art, creativity, and cognitive skills. Each day has the child moving every half hour thus catering to every kind of learner (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) , maintaining novelty and making children bold enough to adjust to a new setting quickly and easily
2. In a country that gives so much stress on learning from books from an early age, how do you encourage parents to adopt the learning through experiencing concept, rather than the learning by rote?

At this tender age we want to hone a child's imagination, develop life skills and an undying love for learning, Our curriculum is a guideline that enables teachers to steer the class in different directions based on what may interest the child since every question, every observation made by a child is an attempt to learn, and must be encouraged rather than drowned in the practice of following a rigid lesson plan.
Each room in our preschool is designed to deliver a different learning experience. Our music room has  a music wall of daily objects like pots, pans, bins and spoons to enable children to understand that music can be created in many different ways along with regular instruments. Our library is filled with books with humongous pictures and few words so little children can weave their own magical stories by looking at these pictures. Our sand play pit has wet and dry sand partitions so children can experiment for themselves and understand how differently the two behave.
We also undertake various field trips, celebrate different festivals and create various learning themes so children can experience the world around them joyously.
We are not a part of the rat race that overloads children's minds with irrelevant information just to impress others. We want to enable our children to understand, experiment, question and really learn rather than parrot something impressive for dinner time entertainment
3. Many playschools and kindergarten teachers are still not very experienced in using the international methods of teaching, how does this institute take care of the same?

We choose facilitators with great care ensuring that they have not only an educational degree but also the softness, the patience and the joy of teaching that shapes a child's learning experiences. We also conduct regular in house training sessions and empower teachers to creatively come up with new and innovative methods of delivering a lesson
We also monitor classes regularly, allow teachers to observe each others lessons and have healthy sessions of feedback for improvement
We also encourage teachers to participate in workshops or seminars that may enhance any aspect of teaching that we consider important
4. The initial weeks for any toddler is very difficult in a new setting - how are they taken care of while handling separation anxiety?
We keep the initial weeks easy and a lot of fun for the child. We allow them to spend more time at the play gym and outdoors so that they work off their anxiety, make new friends and adapt to the place easily. Teachers also make sure to bond with their children, understand each ones unique needs and how to pacify them. When required we encourage parents to stay in the vicinity in the start so they can be called if required.
5. Does the school also offer day-care or extended care hours for working parents?
Day care is on the agenda for the next year since we prefer to start small and do a thorough job at preschool before committing to such a huge responsibility.
6. Some schools have cams installed in classrooms that parents can get access to from their homes or office. does the school have these yet or plan to do something similar for safety?

We have CCTV cameras across the premises that we monitor diligently and may grant parents access in case of a specific requirement. Besides that we do not allow outsiders in our premises in school hours and have issued identification cards to parents ans guardians for pick ups. We also have fire safety drills and fire protection equipment installed in the premises. We have a tie-up with a nearby hospital in case of any medical emergency. We also have basic first aid available at the center. All equipment and interiors are child friendly, with rounded edges, no small parts and non toxic colours . 

As shared by Ms. Shrishti Gupta, Co-Owner at Koco Kids.

- Debolina Raja

And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Debolina Raja
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