The initial years in a child’s life are their most formative and the education they receive during this time is highly significant. Children are active, perceptive and observant during these years and it’s the best time to focus on their personal and physical development. However, it’s not always easy for parents to decide how to best use their child’s time and mental capabilities. If you’re a parent to a toddler and currently in a fix about their early education, we hear you! We invited educator and counsellor Falak Shaikhani – founder of the Aster School – to Mashion HQ this week and she answered all your questions about dealing with kids. If you missed the Q&A session — here’s all that you need to know!
1. The Best Way To Teach Children
No matter how obedient a child is, teaching them even the most basic things can be tough. Their brains take time to process things and they’re skeptical and curious about everything. That means your words alone won’t teach them much. Whether it’s etiquette, a task or an activity, if you want your child to learn, start by showing them how it’s done – they’ll pay more attention to actions than words. According to Falak, “The best way to teach anything to your kids is by being their role models. Children don’t learn by instructions but by the actions of the adults around them.”
2. Importance Of Early Childhood Education
According to neurological research, the early years of one’s life are crucial in brain development. A child’s early experiences — from the bonds they form with their family to their learning experiences — have a huge impact on their physical, emotional, cognitive and social development. Our expert suggests parents pay attention to this early stage. “Early education is very important because when a child is 0-6 years old, 90% of their brain develops. This is the most important phase in any child’s life and it’s when they need the most focus as well.”
3. Changes Needed In Pakistan’s Education System
Pakistan’s education system as a whole has several flaws, whether it’s a government or private school. The out-dated curriculum, inadequacy of teachers and lack of resources are why the education system in our country hasn’t progressed much. Falak feels that the current education system needs a lot of changes. “Firstly, we need more trained teaching staff. Secondly, we need to ensure that we are following every child’s pace… Better infrastructure and continuous research in the education sector is also needed to keep up with modern times.”
4. The Right Way To Motivate Children To Read
Reading is undoubtedly one of the best activities children can partake in and it’s important to get them reading early so it becomes a habit. While some kids have an innate interest in books, others may find them boring and prefer other activities. It may seem impossible but motivating a kid to read can be done. According to our expert, the best way to attract children to books is by reading with them. She suggests parents take children to libraries and bookstores and look for storybooks that they’ll have an interest in.
5. Exposure To Screens Is A Big No
These days children are attached to smartphones and tablets. You may think your child is learning by watching nursery rhyme videos on YouTube, but it’s actually doing more harm than good. According to a new set of guidelines issued by World Health Organization (WHO), infants under the age of 1 should not be exposed to electronic screens at all and children between the ages of 2 and 4 should not have more than one hour of screen time. Falak seconds this. “I personally think screen time should be zero for children under three as it’s really harmful for them. Even kids above the age of three shouldn’t be exposed to screens for more than half an hour.”
6. Myths About Playschools
Playschools are more common in the West than they are in our part of the world. But the past few years have seen an increase in playschools, as the new generation of parents understand their importance. Some myths and misconceptions still remain, such as the fact that they don’t focus on academics. But Falak completely disagrees. “Our aim is to teach children everything through activities and playing.”
7. Benefits Of Summer Schools
With five hours at school and over two hours at tuitions, children hardly get any free time to indulge in other activities. Kids these days are almost as busy as adults! The only time they’re free to enjoy other activities is during summer vacations. Parents should make the most of this time by getting their kids into summer camps. According to Falak, summer schools are the best time to teach your children the additional skills you want them to learn, such as sports and swimming. For those looking for a great summer school for their children, she recommends Aster School’s summer camp in June and July.
8. Ideal Activities For Toddlers
Parenting toddlers is not an easy job – they’re always up to something and keep you on your toes. Engaging them in fun yet productive activities is a great way to keep them away from mischief. To all parents with toddlers, Falak suggests focusing on their language development and movements. She recommends enrolling them in physical activities, such as swimming or mountain climbing, for their physical development.