As parents, we always want the best for our child and choosing a good school becomes a priority right from when the child is in the toddler years. A good programme is a relative concept and changes with each individual according to the requirements, understanding and what one believes in. As parents, we have many questions in our minds and many times we might want clarity on simple yet important queries. We have put together a set of questions and the answers thereof to help parents and all those in touch with the child to throw light into some of the concerns or queries that cross our minds.

Is it necessary for a child to go to school before he turns four years old?

The first environment of the child is his home and he absorbs a lot from this environment. Learning happens through interaction with parents and kith and kin. The kinds of materials available in the market today are easily accessible and can become part of a child’s home environment instantaneously. But, it is still important that the child is exposed to a second environment that will compliment his home environment with a rich experience and give the child opportunities to mingle with other children in a  community setting. This experience is very different from that which the child has when he plays with children in the park. The child is part of a complete system and learns how to adapt, share, take turns, take care of self and surroundings and also becomes independent with daily routine activities. Children learn from other children and that is the main reason why a second environment in the form of a school is recommended for very young children.

What is vertical age group and how does it benefit children across different age groups?

Vertical age group refers to children of different age groups learning together in the same classroom or environment. So, we will find children with a difference in age varying between one year and three years in a group of thirty in the same classroom. Typically the vertical age group division is arrived at keeping in mind the developmental stage and the needs thereof. So, we have 15 months to 3 years in one community, 3 years to 6 years in one, 6 years to 9 years in one, 9 years to 12 years in one, 12 years to 15 years in one and 15 years to 18 years in one.

The benefit of the vertical age group is that it enables learning through observation, interaction, role-modeling, mentor and peer study. It also enables learning in an inclusive community where children learn at their own pace without being judged from the point of view of their age. Further children who have a faster learning pattern in a particular subject can move to the next level without affecting or getting affected by the level of the other children in the classroom.

Does the school follow the Montessori Method of Education throughout?

We do not follow any particular method or philosophy and our curriculum is not restricted by methods. We follow the child in every aspect and ensure that we provide a conducive environment that enables learning. The Montessori materials are tools to help children understand concepts and also learn independently with least adult intervention in the primary years and in the elementary years they provide an alternate method to understanding the various concepts.

Are all the teachers in the school trained and qualified? What are the basic qualifications that the school requires during recruitment?

The qualifications are guided by the role that the adult plays in the school. We ensure that the adult is well equipped with the skills required to deliver the formal lessons to the child in the required way. We have people who join us from all walks of life and are with us because they are passionate about working with children in a community and always willing to learn and unlearn.

Why is the programme for the 3 years to 6 years age group called House of Children?

The environment that has been designed for this age group is very similar to a house in which one lives - it has the furniture, the activities, the space that one would find in a house and since everything is in proportion to the size that the child can use, the environment is called a House of Children. Further, although the timing of the community is fixed at 9:00AM to 2:00PM, children are given flexibility in this range so that they are comfortable and not rushed into anything.

What is the mode of assessment for the children who are part of the 15 months to 6 years programmes?

The mode of assessment for this age group is continuous and focused observation. The adults observe the child, the environment and both with respect to each other and draw lesson plans for the child. The child is not assessed based on the end result of the activities he chooses to do but with respect to how he responds to the environment, his learning pattern and the general milestone guidelines that are prepared based on the stage of development of the child.

What is the school’s take on examinations and competition? Does the school train children for competitions and examinations?

Pramiti treats examinations as part of the learning process and as a summation of developing study skills. So, children welcome examinations like any other aspect of learning. Children are not “trained” but develop the skill sets required to prepare and write an examination or test. Children develop the sense of self assessment and therefore are able to withstand competition in a healthy way. They become aware of the world of competition and understand how to deal with it rather than run away from it or completely get lost in it. The children of Pramiti are part of a learning process that is continuous, dynamic and enriching.

Does the school believe in rewards and punishment?

Pramiti does not believe in rewards and punishment but also understands the need for reinforcement and consequences. The children are in an environment that supports self motivation and being proactive. Children set their own standards and do not look up to adults or others for approval. There are times when children do take liberties in testing boundaries and limits and when their actions are inappropriate there are consequences that are laid by adults in consensus with the children for each environment. So children are involved in framing what is not acceptable in the community and the consequences if the unacceptable happens. Adult intervention sometimes is unavoidable and the school will not take any chances when it is required in certain situations.

What are the extra-curricular activities offered by the school?

Pramiti does not consider any activity to be extra- curricular. We believe that every activity is part and parcel of the curricula of the school and should be treated with equal passion, rigour and importance. The skill sets are developed in a structured way but keeping in mind that imagination and creation know no limits or boundaries. The structure or plan is for the facilitators to help them create opportunities as per the needs of the child to enable learning. The curriculum of Pramiti is defined, yet dynamic and is constantly reviewed and modified to encompass a wide spectrum.