The period when I grew up, was probably the time, when childhood was the remarkable combination of work and play. A bit of both love, freedom and you’re all set and happy with life.
Of course, boundaries were set in. Like what is acceptable to others, should be what you should follow. And not really vice -versa, as it is in our current day scenario!
School, was always a necessity. But not for mothers to get their time off/ spare time to pursue their hobbies, or for their self-created free individual ‘me’ time. It was for the sole fact, that the child needs to undergo the process of education, to hone and develop whatever skill required, to set forth in their respective paths in the future. Phew, that was long. The concept of ‘play-school’, was a wonder and a topic of amusement to many elderly citizens and grandparents, who wondered- Why play at school? What is the home, neighbourhood, park etc. for?! What are we there for? So on and so forth. So, ideally, the child can best learn to play, when he/she is at the mentioned places.
Formal education is to be tread upon, only when the child is READY to compromise the play and be out of the home environment, to receive education in an external environment.
That was then.
By the time I had my first child, tables were turning. And, as you know, when a change /trend originates, it spreads like wildfire in the society we live in. No time to think. No time to evaluate. Just go with the flow. In other words – Just. Do. It. (the Nike Ad, developed around that time!)
The terrible twos came upon me. And I, like many mothers, admitted my child to school at the initial pure stage of 2 +. The idea was not for free time, but to acclimatize the child into an environment, which has other similar age-group children for company. That is all. School starts. So does the daily mayhem, coupled with daily wailing and anxiety. Every day would begin with a push, and end in a state of numbness.
During one such, as I was doing the one mammoth task of taking my toddler to school, an extremely calm and old neighbour, stopped me on my way. Almost taking my hand, and clubbing it together with hers, she tells me, with utmost desperation and sincerity – “Can she not miss school just for today? Is it very important, she goes today? Why do you have to take her every day?!“ I had no answer. First, I was too bewildered on this sudden approach myself, second, if not school, then what? And third – Why is she saying what she’s saying?!
I let out a mild laugh, convincing her all is well, nothing to worry. Not convinced at all, she reluctantly lets me go. And I actually didn’t send my toddler to school, the next couple of days. Fearing, Old aunty will be lurking in a corner to grab me and never let go!
Later, as I recalled the incident, it transposed me to my perfect-combo childhood. Well, times change, I thought to myself. And so we evolve with it. We often try to bridge what was with what is.
I still smile to myself, at the shock and disbelief the old lady expressed, learning about a Play school!
Wish I could meet her and tell her, the wailing play school toddler is not only out of school, but out of my nest too……..
Please read our earlier article Changing lives by teaching with EVidyaloka.
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