PARENT

Parents understanding of learning and developmental needs of children is limited. They use wrong parameters like ability to recite or follow instructions. There is an immense need to replace the wrong parameters that parents are currently using with the “right” parameters.

Vikalp’s parent engagement program tries to address these issues and make parents aware about the learning and developmental needs of children. This is not done by educating parents on theories of early childhood development. Basically, all these theories are simplified into right and wrong markers and what a parent should avoid and look for in their children.

Few popular ones are enumerated below: –

Early childhood development consists of three distinct but interrelated domains: physical, socio-emotional, and mental. Understanding how parents think about their child’s early development in each of these domains is useful.

In general, parents are most aware of what it means for their child to be developing  physically and were least aware of socio-emotional development, but important gaps in parents’ under- standing  existed across all three domains

Physical

Despite physical development of child being so obvious: there are significant gaps in parent’s understanding of signs for early childhood development. One of the most popular one is enumerated below:

Parents look for What Parents miss

Parents looked

for obvious signs of physical growth,  such as increases in height  and weight,  and cited signs such as whether the child was regularly outgrowing his or her clothes. Parents believed that ensuring physical development was primarily their responsibility as it was linked closely to nutrition,  which parents  saw as something they provide.

Parents’ conception of early physical development did not include a number of critical aspects. For example, parents did not look for physical development of fine motor skills—movements using small muscles such as holding a pencil or inserting cubes inside number cubes or fixing discs of disc board. Fine motor skills are essential building blocks for basic academic skills such as handwriting. Playing with learning aids helps development of gross and fine motor skills.

Mental Development

Unlike physical development, parents saw mental development primarily as the responsibility of the school. While parents believed they could support the process by ensuring the child attended school and completed her homework, they considered mental development as something that happened in school and was driven by teachers.

Parents look for What Parents miss
Parents also look for some basic and easily noticeable signs of mental development, such as the child reading and writing, counting and asking more questions and expanding vocabulary. Parents’ conception of mental development did not include crucial pre-math and pre-literacy skills that form the bedrock of successful performance in school. For example, parents did not mention the child’s ability to match or group similar objects together—a skill necessary for basic arithmetic operations and geometry.  Playing with concrete pieces of dominoes and attribute is critical for this development.
Parents do look for the child’s ability to understand instructions Parents normally ignore equally important aspects such as the child’s attention span when listening or ability to focus on a task. Exploring and constant engagement with physical tools helps in development of this aspect.

Socio-emotional development

Parents did not view socio-emotional development as something that required active support by either parents or educators. Rather, they saw it as occurring naturally as the child grew older and interacted with more people, in sharp contrast to their beliefs around mental and physical development, which had to be actively supported. Nonetheless, if prompted parents do speak about certain socio-emotional development they look for in their children.

What Parents look for What Parents miss
Play is important in terms of helping children refresh and concentrate better on their academics Interacting with other children while play develops critical socio-emotional skills. While doing activities in Vikalp methodology children work in small or large groups. Consequently, children develop soft skills and learn how to work in a team.
Good manners, the ability to make friends and the ability to express preferences as signs that the child is developing emotionally and socially. Parents do not actively look for key aspects such as whether the child is able to identify and express emotions, empathize and resolve conflicts. All these are inherent part of Vikalp methodology where children collaborate, understand each other, resolve differences and help each other to achieve tasks.