As a parent I was even more conscious of where my children will study than most mothers because I graduated in Child Psychology majoring in Early education and Curriculum planning. How a child feels in preschool when he or she first leaves home while staying in the confines of a disciplined environment is a crucial phase. 90% of the children decide their orientation to academics and other activities a preschool hosts during this time. I was tired of the rote learning format I myself went through. The format was boring to the bone and I remember wanting to open my eyes during morning prayers and see that I am 30 years old – no longer in school ! Would have given an arm or limb at the time to be where I am today. But this also means something was innately wrong with the system. It held no appeal for kids like me.
Each child is different and the proof of that was in what I found at reunions. I meet school friends who hold fond memories of school while I for the life of me cannot fathom how they feel so warm about that prison with inmates in uniform. Not that the issue was with the uniform but how uniform every day was, every hour, and every year. I realized much later that I was a creative mind. All assessments and tests taken 16 years on wards showed that I am prehensile, pragmatic but highly inquisitive with a bend to do things differently. Steadiness and too much structure kills my spirit. The best of me arrived in college at SNDT where there were no books. Syllabus was what we created. Library was second home. Research a way of life. Drowned in state run projects from 8am to 8pm. 56 exams in a year and not a squeak from me. I was the same student but awarded freedom, exploration, novelty, experiments, green field projects, group work, debates, logical reasoning and that format was what shaped my mind the most. In fact all that I am today is credited to SNDT university that took that mass of shapeless mess I was and gave me opportunity and avenue to build a stronger mind. Armed with nothing but a bachelors in Home science I ran fast up the ladder of Corporate India. A place that is teeming with MBA’s from IIM A,B,C and even graduates from fancy universities abroad. What my college did to my mind is what made me a strong contender. Else I would have had to take the well-trodden path of a few more certificates to prove to myself and the world – I was able.
My lesson from watching my own life is that the mind and attitude is shaped very much by learning HOW TO THINK. There are two types of intelligence. One that learns by rote and vomits it just as it took it on; or remembers to the T the main themes, words and formats -this type of intelligence is memory intelligence. An ability to bring up in voice or written word what was read in a book. And scores achieved by an ability to duplicate the logic, theorem or elements taught is what most of India worships. This however has no world appeal. So are you raising your child for India or Global footprint ? The world accepts and welcomes radical thinkers, people who have an ability to read what is beyond the typed word. Whose association with information is to sift the important, store and retrive another time to find connectivity and beautiful new perspectives that trigger unique solutions. This type of a child who becomes an adult – also becomes a global employee or leader.
The type of intelligence I mention here is Natural Intelligence. It is not practised though repetition nor is it formatted. My belief is that all kids come with natural intelligence but are ruined by conditioning from stereotypical education systems making them intellectually redundant except able to prattle what they learnt. So what is Natural Intelligence ? It comes from keeping all senses live, tuned in, connecting dots, making co-relations, finding patterns and a constant search for new meaning which is not necessarily a search initiated by a curriculum. It is the ability to be able to tell what is not told. This is what is needed to be a strategist, a visionary and a leader in the competitive world of Corporates and Governments .The first type of intelligence will guarantee a job and surely a career as a manager but the later …guarantees a successful personal life and certainly leadership opportunity.
When parents select schools for their children they focus only on admission. Social opinion of which school is reputed to be the best. They select basis ratings and rankings. Some also think more the fees – the school must be Gold Class ! They are attached to smart uniforms, impressive school building and a pretty school bus that will improve their social standing in the condominium every time that yellow bus comes to pick up their child. Pre school and School selection is now a status symbol in cities. What such “Status love” does is ….it ensures the child will be one among the many children whose parents sent them there for the very same reasons. At times a smaller school, a new school but one with passion for thinking is over looked because the facade was not as impactful as the one the giant brand carries. Our prejudice as parents can mar the education experience for children.
The most intelligent of parents see admission to preschool and school as the formative period. It is the time when marination of the mind happens. College will shape it further. Preschool is when you can play a very directive role in your child’s education with no objection from them. Best to elect and select a school where you child is not just one more child, in a wild number. Where the system allows blue sky thinking. Where learning is encouraged through the exploration of questions. Where syllabus is designed by the week not fixed in the year. Where the teacher will progress at the speed of the tots. Where they urge the child to look, see, wonder, muse, chase, ask all their little mind wants to. A school that loves the MIND Of the child – is YOUR BEST CHOICE….if you are raising your child to be a balanced adult with the potential of being a poignant leader.