Parents seek refuge in school readiness programmes


SRPs focus on up-scaling children and tackle the learning losses that happened during online schooling.

Can she cope  with the world? Will she be able to understand what is going on in school? She doesn’t have any friends. As she struggled to get Kshetra, her four-year-old, ready for preschool, she only had one thought on her mind– I hope her school will help her build confidence.

Archana, Kshtera’s mother, said her 4-year-old daughter studies in Lower Kindergarten  now. She began to speak very late. When she tried to teach her alphabets and numbers at home, she wouldn’t pay attention at all. Online classes were difficult for her to focus on, but in-person pre-school improved that.She developed thinking and speaking skills but writing is a major problem.

School Readiness Programmes (SRPs) are a part of the National Education Policy, 2020. Early Childhood Care and Educationis vital for a child’s overall development, however the same is not available to all. SRPs are offered with an aim to upscale a child’s cognitive, literacy and social skills.

The school readiness tool is designed for children  aged five and above. Radhika, ex- principal, Howard Public School, Hyderabadstated that online education has created a learning gap for children. “As their curriculum in kindergarten is built with interactive and colourful activities, it was difficult to conduct these on Zoom or Google Meet. School readiness programmes are offering an integrated curriculum for kids in preschool. Parents are currently enrolling their kids into these courses to aid them with their social skills,” she added.

SRPs include classroom activities for children, such as building blocks with their peers or even solving a simple math problem. They are designed in a way to accelerate their learning and cover up for their learning loss, if any, stated Shravya, a preschool teacher.

According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) reading ability in children aged five years has fallen by 15.3 percent. And arithmetic ability fell by 12.6 percent between 2018 and 2020.

Due to online schooling, a lot of children have lost touch with their peers and have an open mind to accept different views. Online schooling has also taken an effect on grasping ability and memory retention capability.

Sushma, a parent, said that before the pandemic, schools shaped the students and determined their learning and grasping capabilities. Children aged five or below should be put in a learning environment as their distractions are high. A lack of such an environment has definitely taken a toll on them.

P Nayantara Nair, a child psychologist said that children may not find it  easy to adapt to social situations if they have been trapped at home for so long. Therefore, a school readiness programme would be very helpful to them. When they get to school, they would r perform better and Covid won’t become an obstacle. “They will be able to  grasp and learn things more effectively,” she explained.