Deep theories behind India’s corporate childcare startups

  • Narayanan Madhavan, Hindustan Times, Chennai/Bangalore
  • Updated: Feb 23, 2015 16:41 IST

Corporate style early education is more than day-care and relies on philosophies rooted in child psychology and theories of learning.

Amelio, KLAY and WeCare, which are blazing a new trail in this field, have their courses and style based on new approaches to education looking beyond old education styles such as the Montessori system that relies on “freedom within limits” and mixed-age classrooms.

KLAY’s curriculum relies on research done by Harvard don Howard Gardner, who is known for his “multiple intelligence” theory.

Education based on this often involves giving children props and habits that encourage natural learning based on their inclinations or aptitudes.

“We have a tough time, teaching teachers not to be tellers,” says KLAY’s CEO Priya Krishnan – and adds that it has been found that children schooled at KLAY are “socially more adept”

Gardner classified eight abilities that form the basis of early education: musical–rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily–kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.

WeCare also banks on the “multiple intelligence theory” and emphasizes on creativity and hands-on learning while admitting children as young 45 days.

Amelio works with what it calls ECCE – early child-care and education - which is an amalgam of three principles: Reggio Emilia, HighScope methodology and Waldorf curriculum.

Reggio Emilia, developed by Italian Loris Malaguzzi, is named after an Italian region where it was founded after World War II. It says people form their own personality during early years of development, and that children have an innate talent to learn in many ways. US-based HighScope Educational Research Foundation focuses on “participatory learning” and curiosity.

The Waldorf curriculum is an alternative schooling technique, along the lines of Montessori. It focuses on a unique instructional approach that emphasizes on in-depth education that teaches a subject by connecting it to various disciplines and without using textbooks. It also relies on child behaviour, with autonomy for teachers to use their own individual styles.

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