There has been considerable research and studies done on the pedagogical methods and early education but few have been as successful and applied as the Waldorf and Pikler approaches when it comes to preschools.
The Waldorf Education that is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner has been developed in early 20th century garnered considerable popularity in the 20th as well as the 21st century. With the emergence of preschools in India and, increased importance given to preschool education for early childhood development, Waldorf education has seen reinterpretations and wide span of application. It has been characterized as the philosophy behind the independent school movement, most successful in the world.
The Waldorf education centers itself on developmental stages that correspond to early years of human life. In the preschools, the Waldorf method is used along with other popular methods such as Montessori Method. The method emphasizes the holistic development of children and is not limited to preschools. However, its relevance for preschools and elementary schools is relatively high as the schooling post early years tends to become conventional curriculum based.
It will not amount to discounting the mainstream relevance of Waldorf education system if we classify it as an alternative preschool education system as its importance in early childhood development is particularly significant. The method is dynamically child-centered and emphasizes on the sensory-motor development of the child and reinforces the importance of enhanced interaction with the environment.
The preschools have spawned across the country and a suitable theorized pattern for engaging with the child in those early years before the teaching-learning phase of education begins is strongly advised. If a well-researched and organized way of conducting the preschools is not popularized the preschools tend to become disorganized and random totally dependent on the individuals’ skills of interacting with the child. The Waldorf method provides much-needed structure for the preschool curriculum. It helps the teachers to use the time to promote an environment which does not impede the natural development by overemphasizing the need for “order” within the preschool. The play spaces are designed more scientifically and provide enough opportunities to the child to learn to integrate with the environment and to manipulate it besides developing communication and early social skills. It establishes the ground for meaningful interaction with the children and can also instruct teachers and parents on how to foster spaces for children to help them develop an interest in learning which comes as an immense help in elementary education stages.
Originally meant and widely applied by day care institutions, Dr. Emmi Pikler’s method of child pedagogy is the most recognized education method for toddlers. Dr. Pikler was a Hungarian pediatrician who, drawing on her experience, developed a set of principles that inform parenting for ideal development of children. The Pikler methods have several distinctions to its credit. Pikler methods of engaging with infants have been recognized by the World Health Organization. The objective of Pikler methods is to ensure regard for the children that go beyond mentoring. It emphasizes on a developmental partnership between children, parents and preschool teachers.
The Pikler method combined with the Waldorf education philosophy produces an efficient preschool curriculum. It brings together the well-being of the child with early intellectual and physical development. The preschools would fare more organized and dependable if these methods are relied upon. Adept preschool consultants can be approached for designing a structured preschool curriculum based on Waldorf and Pikler child development methodologies.
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Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.