Pre-school children should learn in mother tongue: NCERT curriculum

'No tests, oral or written for them'

October 14, 2019 11:39 am | Updated 03:59 pm IST - New Delhi

Photo for representation

Photo for representation

Children between the ages of three and six years should begin their educational journey in their own mother tongues, learn through play and not be subjected to tests of any kind, says the NCERT's first-ever preschool curriculum. Noting that teaching through a child's mother tongue or home language is internationally recognised as most appropriate in the early years, the NCERT guidelines also acknowledge the challenge of language diversity in India. "In case there are more than one language as mother tongue, teachers may allow as many languages as are in the classroom to be used for expression with gradually exposing the child to school language...Children need a bilingual or multilingual environment for smooth transition," says NCERT, adding that all children should also be exposed to sign language. The guidelines emphasise that pre-schools — defined as all schools which teach children between the ages of three and six — must avoid early formal instruction. "Rote-based, teacher-directed learning, which is devoid of meaningful context with undue pressure on the child to perform is harmful," says the curriculum. It stipulates that children should be assessed individually through informal and systematic observations of their play and activities. "On no account, should children be made to take any form of test or examination either oral or written. The purpose of evaluation at the pre-school stage is not to label a child as ‘pass’ or ‘fail’," says the curriculum. Instead, assessment should provide direction for learning new skills and focus on the child’s strengths rather than deficits, it added.

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