Friday, 15 August 2008

Bhutan : The Phuentsholing day care centre- a parent’s dream

From learning the alphabets to brushing up on their paintings- to doing the dance and eating on their own, the children of Phuentsholing Day Care Centre are learning the basic art of living.SANGAY WANGCHUK reports

Most parents have found it more productive to send their children to the nursery school where they learn new things every day. In fact the teachers of the day care centre claim that no one has ever questioned the standing of such institutes.

Like Alice in Wonderland, children feel alienated in the initial days. However, the teachers say that within a few days, they feel at home.

What is most captivating is that a psychologist, Vaishali, from Rajasthan in India has been hired as the headmistress. She says that she understands children’s emotions. “We help them in making a smooth transition from a home experience to a school experience. We nurture them to become better students,” she said.

The classes start at 8:00 am in the morning with a hand strengthening exercise followed by a tea break and breakfast. Throughout the lessons they are taught alphabets, painting, rhyme songs, reading and most importantly- to be sociable and compassionate.

“Every learning foundation is of overriding importance. The lessons are taught step by step so that their understanding ability can improve.

The day care students are more confident, sociable, disciplined and are aware of many things,” said the headmistress. A total of 90 children make up the strength of the day care centre. The children are grouped into three groups. The youngest group is the ‘Toddlers’ where children from one to three years are taught how to scribble an image, paint with crayons and eat on their own.

The next level is the ‘nursery’ where children are taught how to read, write, paint and maintain discipline. After a year the nursery students are promoted to kindergarten where a child can further develop. “They are more disciplined and responsible and have a better sense of awareness,” the headmistress said.

However, as the lectures are being delivered, most students doze off. The lectures turn into a sleep capsule as more children doze off in front of their teachers. “We have furnished beds for every child and we do not disturb them while they sleep,” said a teacher.

Unlike other schools, the teachers of day care centre are observed as considerate. The day care teachers are seen as foil to other primary school teachers. The teachers say that they never beat students or scold them as such actions might hurt their students’ fragile minds.

“I feel happy when I send my baby to the day care school. If I send her to a primary school, a teacher might slap her,” said Tshering, whose only daughter studies in the day care centre. “I feel like they are my children. It is more to do with affection. We have to be very friendly so that the kids can learn more,” said Dechen Pelmo, a teacher at the day care centre.

From storytelling and singing with puppets to the dancing numbers the teachers at the day care centre aid the students in every possible way. Many parents, who are unable to send their children to the day care centre, envy the care that is provided. Apparently most parents who sent their children to government schools are upset that the teachers sometimes beat up students for trivial reasons.

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