A house cannot be considered strong unless its foundation is strong, the same logic is applicable to human beings. According to Beas Dev Relhan, Early childhood is the time when major development changes occurred in children, which in turn, have profound and lasting consequences on their mental and emotional growth. The National Education Policy draft, 2019 emphasises on holistic learning to know’, learning to do’. Therefore, it is understandable that the Indian education system is all set to focus on the holistic development of children, whereby the finest pedagogical and technological approaches will be incorporated to revolutionise education.
- Early childhood education: According to science, a child grasps knowledge at the fastest pace during early childhood. This is because from birth till the age of five, a child’s brain develops the fastest. This, the quality of experience a child gathers in the first few years of life shapes the development of their brain. The principal objective of early childhood education to not only highlight the ways in which children become ‘active learner’ but also forget the foundations of lifelong learning in them. Thus, the importance of early childhood education has become truly wide in scope, and its proponents and practitioners have earned recognition.
- Play-based learning: Best approach for transformation early education. Since child development is seen as a continuous process, it is important to set precedents for lifelong learning. High investments in early childhood education programmes will certainly not guarantee the best outcomes if they don’t focus on different skill developments for holistic development. In order to help develop these skills in children, it is essential to adopt an interactive pedagogy that ensures both fun and learning. More than just an approach to learning interactive pedagogy is about structural intervention, aimed at creating dialogic and reflective practices for learners. It lets children venture beyond the confines of the classroom and take ownership of their learning. According to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), play is an essential part of the process of exploration and helps children become ‘active learners’. Preschools in India such as CreoVille are such play-based schools that provide play-spaces for children to make learning fun and intellectually stimulating. Here are some play-based learning methods and technologies that play a vital role in transforming education.
- Play-space: A play-space serves as an outlet for creative expression. Children can choose to play with different equipment such as toys, seesaws, slides and sand-and-water areas, present in a classroom environment or school. They can also create different objects out of ropes, cardboard boxes, colourful beads, straws, scraps of cloth and wooden blocks. These activities not only help them design and visualise different scenarios but also improve their dexterity. By creating recreating different things, they gradually internalise knowledge through their movements and sensory experiences. In the process, they embark on a voyage of self-discovery.
- AR&VR: The incorporation of augmented reality (AR/virtual reality(VR) in education can be considered as another form of play-based learning that has gained recognition in recent year. Children are transported to a virtual world where learning happens through the medium of three-dimensional effects. For example, video games powered by AR/VR can help them visualise living beings and objects in the ancient or prehistoric world. They can also manually trigger movements in characters within the 3D space. This maker for an exciting and immersive learning experience for children. The AR cards produced by Next Education help children get a great visual experience and witness real-life pictures of objects.
- Roleplay: Many schools incorporate role-play as a classroom activity and encourage students to work in terms, It is integral in developing language and social interaction skills, building awareness of social-culture norms, and fostering alternative viewpoints. When children partake in role-plays such as ‘teacher-student’ and ‘doctor-patients’, they learn the skills, which the roles require and understand the value of teamwork. If incorporated well in the classroom sphere, the play-based learning method can help the environment to become the facilitator. The approach not only hones different skills among young learners but also empowers them to grow independently.