What should be the duration of Preschool Programs in a day?
Many parents address this as ‘Length of Preschool Day’; ‘Duration of Preschool’.
Preschool Programs in India are being run for a duration ranging from Two Hours to Five Hours. In metro cities, program duration is generally Two Hours and in small towns program duration is generally Four Hours.
Domain specific terminology –
For the purpose of this discussion we will divide preschool children under two age groups:
One, Age 2 Years to 4 Years (Pre-Kindergarten Programs)
Two, Age 4 Years to 6 Years (Kindergarten Programs)
Throughout the discussion, it is assumed that Preschool Quality Standards are at least reasonably maintained.
Presently an average of 3 hours is the duration of Preschool Programs, being followed by Preschools in India.
Preschools keep the duration of Preschool Programs as 2.5 hours, 3 hours, 3.5 hours, and some preschools keep it as low as 2 hours and even 1.45 hours.
For the sake of brevity, one may conclude that, most of the preschools in India run their Preschool Programs for a very short duration.
Affirmative Points i.e. “For the motion” –
Preschools shall be run for short duration and this is the most beneficial position.
Preschool stakeholders put forth these points for having a short duration of preschool programs :
1. Two to three hours is more than sufficient for a small child of age group two years to five years.
2. Child gets tired in Two to three hours
3. Child gets bored in Two to three hours
4. Fee gets economical (i.e. price is lowered), due to short duration of preschool programs.
5. Those people also get attracted to work at Preschools, who are not interested to take up a full-time job.
Negative Points i.e. “Against the motion” –
Presently preschools are run for a very short duration, which is not at all beneficial for the child.
On an average, the child travels for one hour and attends a preschool program of two hours.
Longer duration of Preschool Programs always has greater positive effect on all aspects of child’s development. Longer duration of Preschool Programs has highly positive effect on child’s development of cognitive skills, linguistic skills and other skills.
Also, longer duration of Preschool Programs prepares children better for formal schooling thereby decreasing pressure both on child as well as parents.
Even if, by any means, it is concluded that longer duration of Preschool Programs might not have any positive effect on child’s social, behavioural or emotional development, it will never be negative.
Conclusive Remarks from “Preschool For Child Rights™” –
To understand each element of discussion properly, entire article has been written in Q/A format (Question/Answer format), so that it becomes easier for each preschool stakeholders (i.e. Principals, Administrators, Teachers, Preschool Entrepreneurs, Parents).
Q. What is the duration of Preschool Programs, presently, being followed by Preschools in India?
A. Presently an average of 3 hours is the duration of Preschool Programs being followed by Preschools in India. Preschools keep the duration of Preschool Programs as 2.5 hours, 3 hours, 3.5 hours, and some keep it as low as 2 hours.
Q. Why most of the Preschools in India are keeping the duration of their Preschool Programs so low?
A. Each Preschool communicates its own reason to parents, for keeping the duration of their Preschool Programs so low. However, we think that preschools are opting for lower duration of Preschool Programs for the reasons mentioned below:
1. Preschools find it easy to ‘time pass’ with the child for lesser duration and do not have idea about what to do with the child, if they stay for longer hours.
2. Preschools do not have proper curriculum, so they don’t know what they will be doing with the child for those longer hours / what the child would be doing in those longer hours.
3. Preschools do not have proper knowledge and awareness regarding Preschool Materials and Toys, so they are finding a constraint regarding increased Fixed Investment.
4. At various locations/towns, parents do not have appreciation for good quality education and have their prime focus on lesser fees, which in turn forces the Preschool Entrepreneurs / Preschool Administrators to adjust their costing and thus duration, accordingly.
Q. Ideally what should be the Duration of Preschool Programs?
A. Duration of Preschool Programs should be ‘Full Day Program – 8 Hrs’, also see the table drawn below.
Depending upon the number of hours, the preschool programs could have below mentioned nomenclature:
Extended Full Day Program (Day Care/Child Care) – 9 Hrs
Full Day Program – 8 Hrs
Extended Half Day Program – 6 Hrs
Half Day Program – 4 Hrs
|Age Group of the Child
|Name of the Program for which child is eligible||Developmental Milestones* achieved or not?(check whether Yes or No)||What should be the duration for Preschool Program?|
|2 Years to 4 Years||Pre-Kindergarten Programs||Yes||Full Day Program – 8 Hrs|
|2 Years to 4 Years||Pre-Kindergarten Programs||No||Half Day Program – 4 Hrs orExtended Half Day Program – 6 Hrs;(to be decided as per the need of the child)|
|4 Years to 6 Years||Kindergarten Programs||Yes||Extended Full Day Program (Day Care) – 9 Hrs orFull Day Program – 8 Hrs|
|4 Years to 6 Years||Kindergarten Programs||No||Extended Full Day Program (Day Care) – 9 Hrs orFull Day Program – 8 Hrs|
* Achievement of Developmental Milestones varies from child to child, and variations may go up to one year, and it should not be a matter of concern for the parents.
* Age for all Preschool Programs could be varied to the maximum of One Year.
Q. Even the Half Day Program as suggested by “Preschool For Child Rights™”, is of 4 Hrs., which is in fact longer than the average duration of Preschool Programs being practiced by Preschools in India. Why “Preschool For Child Rights™” is suggesting longer duration of Preschool Programs, In contrast to the general practice of Preschools in India?
A. The list of benefits of having Preschool Programs of proper duration (be it long) will be real long, some prominent benefits (which could be easily appreciated by all user groups) are as follows:
1. Children learn at different pace, so longer duration will make Preschool Programs less-stressful for the child.
2. Full Day Program will allow having Developmentally Appropriate Instructions.
3. Full Day Program will allow Teachers to have more One-to-One interaction with the child.
4. Full Day Program will allow Children to be able to have more self-directed learning.
5. Any Parenting negatives or negatives of Social and Family environment could be properly addressed by Full Day Program.
Q. Will longer duration of Preschool Programs as being suggested by “Preschool For Child Rights™”, give rise to increased child stress or fatigue etc.?
A. Longer duration of Preschool Programs would be less stressful and less tiresome and more Developmentally Appropriate, in comparison to shorter duration Preschool Programs.
Q. Will longer duration of Preschool Programs as being suggested by “Preschool For Child Rights™” impede child’s emotional development?
A. Longer duration of Preschool Programs always has greater positive effect on all aspects of child’s development. Even if, by any means, it is concluded that longer duration of Preschool Programs might not have any positive effect on child’s social, behavioural or emotional development, it will never be negative. Besides, longer duration of Preschool Programs has highly positive effect on child’s development of cognitive skills, linguistic skills and other skills.
Also, longer duration of Preschool Programs prepares children better for formal schooling thereby decreases pressure both on child as well as parents.
Q. Considering that Staff Salary has a significant share in preschool’s cost sheet, even a slight increase in Staff Salary is thereby going to have significant effect on cost sheet of a preschool, under such a condition, what ‘Preschools in India’ shall do?
A. Staff Salary holds a significant share in cost sheet. Staff Salary varies from 20% to 40 % in a Preschool’s expenses. Most of the part-timers, home makers, job hoppers, generally constitute the working force of any preschool in India. So, it is very natural that longer duration of preschool programs will come with increased Salary expenses, and any increase in such expense will eat away the entrepreneur’s profit margin.
Under such prominent Indian scenario, two solutions are being presented to Preschool operators, Preschool Entrepreneurs / Preschool Administrators:
One, Preschools may go for ‘Half Day Program – 4 Hrs’. In this case there would not be any increase in Salary expenses.
Two, more aware and more responsible Preschools may go for ‘Extended Half Day Program – 6 Hrs’. In this case there would be an increase in Salary expenses, but, additionally, there would be an increase in Parents satisfaction, increased quality, development of Preschools as a great inescapable need, and thus parents will always be more than willing to pay proper charge for such services.
Additionally, longer duration of Preschool Programs shall require slightly increased space requirement, however, this could be easily maintained by proper classroom planning and other administrative planning.
Alternative Ideas from “Preschool For Child Rights™” –
We would like to end up with two statements :
One, Truly speaking all Preschool Programs (be it Pre-Kindergarten Programs or Kindergarten Programs) should be called Child Care programs, thus, it will be either Half Day Child Care Program or Full Day Child Care Programs and so the purpose of having nomenclature would also be sufficed and entire user group will have clarity regarding “what exactly Preschools do to their child”.
Two, Preschools shall try to conduct ‘Extended Half Day Program – 6 Hrs’ and in no way Preschools shall go below ‘Half Day Program – 4 Hrs’.
What is the position regarding “duration of preschool programs” for Curriculum Subscribers of “Preschool For Child Rights™” –
“Preschool for Child Rights™” provides with the flexibility to each Preschool to opt for any duration of the program, they are interested in, although our position is clear as mentioned above.
We are able to provide the Curriculum for Preschool Programs for duration of 2.5 Hrs. to 9 Hrs. Each Preschool is provided with the flexibility to choose their duration. Additionally, it becomes very easy for Teachers, Principals, and Administrators to conduct even longer duration Preschool Programs, once they are with “Preschool for Child Rights™”.
If any of our subscribers opts for 2.5 Hrs program, we try to ‘contain’ it in such a manner that the loss with the child is minimized. However, there is no denying this fact, that, benefits are greater with longer duration programs in comparison to short duration programs.
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Written and Organised by Ms. Abhidha Seth on behalf of Team – Preschool For Child Rights™
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