Shivam is a normal 15 year old. Except that he prefers to sit at home rather than play cricket with friends. Interacts with those in the 30 plus age group at the expenses of his peer group, and started attending playschool even before he was two. The last piece of information would probably be meaningless were it not be accompanied by finding that children who are enrolled for play-school before that age of two are more likely to be less sociable when they actually start school.
As per research conducted by the Indian Forum of Child Education and Care, children who spend long hours at play school subsequently stay aloof and develop into loners. The Study plotted the progress of 3,000 children to come up with its findings which, although they point to the development of specific personality traits, show no evidence of intellectual growth being harmed in the case of children less than two years of age who attend play-school,” elaborates psychiatrist Aarti Baweja, MD.
At the same time, Baweja maintains that, as per the study’s inferences, the adverse effects of extended child-care on behavior of certain children disappears if they go on to attend good nurseries at the age of three. In other words, if quality of pre-school education is sound, the supposedly negative impact of attending play-school early can be ameliorated; but if such a situation is not possible, asocial behavior will go to school.
While private play schools have their own views on the study, child psychiatrist Anupama Gupta maintains that the paucity of trained teachers and the high prevalence of inexperienced staff add to the problem. “Play- schools which combine nursery education with wide support from the family are most likely to produce good results for children below the age of two.” Education, after all, is not child’s play.