Saturday, 28 June 2014


PLAY IS NOT A 4 LETTER WORD- Understanding why play is the work of childhood and how it stimulates brain development.
In India, the focus in most early childhood centers’ is on teaching kids reading, writing, number work and so ‘rote and drill’ methods are a preferred teaching styles. But if 98% of the brain develops in the first five years- then is a foundation of ‘drill and rote’ learning good for kids? Ofcourse not! This kind of foundation is creating students that lack logic, thinking and questioning skills. Whereas, a play based curriculum helps stimulate brain growth and nurtures the growing executive functions of the brain. Play helps children learn better, retain better and enjoy the learning process. Play teaches kids to reason, use logic, plan, work with others, sometimes lead and sometimes follow, to win or lose, to shake hands and make up after a fight.
So should we do away with all ‘learning’ in Kindergartens?
Play is not the enemy of learning. It is “learning’s” partner. Play is the fertilizer for brain growth. Play is learning for kids. Did you know that the foundation of geometry and physics is laid in the kindergarten years? Yes, it is. Children interact with the basic principles of geometry and physics when they play with blocks! This why the kindergarten years are important and so is play in these years, because after all play is the work of childhood.  
Every child goes through kindergarten, but how many teachers and parents actually know the meaning or the founder of kindergarten. Today in India, kindergarten has become K.G and it stands for reading, writing and number work, only. However, is that the real kindergarten?
Friedrich Froebel, a German educationist was the founder of the kindergarten system. “Kindergarten” is a German word which means “children’s garden’, i.e., a place in which young human minds are cultivated. According to him, “the development of the child is to be through play. In play, the child makes the internal external and so the work of teaching in the kindergarten system is to be done in the play spirit.  The child will be and should be taught everything through play.”

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Saving kids from the Monsters.

 53% of Indian kids suffer from some form of sexual abuse. 53% of those are boys.
Bringing to the fore many such shocking facts about child sexual abuse is the recently launched book titled ‘A New Normal – Understand. Prevent. Heal.-winning the battle against child sexual abuse’ The key partners in this initiative include Podar Education Network, Early Childhood Association, Yowoto parenting website among others.  What’s best about this book is – it’s contemporary, offers practical solutions, and educates parents, teachers and relatives. One of the key topics discussed are the prevalent myths that have existed in our society from time immemorial. Here’s a lowdown:
1)    Only strangers abuse children- One of the biggest hidden truths of India is that people known to the children abuse them. In more than 50% of such cases, the accused is someone very close to the family. Recently it has been found that in many instances, the child’s father is the abuser.
2)    Only men sexually abuse children- Though in most cases, the male gender is the abuser lot, there have been many instances where women too have sexually exploited children.
3)    Child sexual abuse happens only in the poor strata of the society- This menace has not restricted to any class, caste, religion or educational barriers. It occurs irrespective of what the background of the abuser and the child is.
Why people don’t talk and discuss openly about good touch bad touch.
·         The main reason is that parents think that child abuse especially sexual abuse cannot happen to urban children or ‘my’ child.
·         Parents of very young children feel that because kids are too young to understand about ‘sexual abuse’, it will not happen to them.
·         Also when it does happen, parents go into denial and refuse to acknowledge or report about it. More often than not it is a friend of the family or a relative or an older cousin and hence the fear of family feuds and incase it is a worker like servant, driver, etc then the social stigma is what parents are worried about.
·         The book helps a parent understand the myths related to child sexual abuse, how to handle if you are in doubt, how to teach kids about good touch bad touch and why to teach them and incase if they want to report about the abuse then how to go about it.
·         Parents are fine if the school teaches about it but are little embarrassed to talk to the child about it.It is for this reason that the preschools and daycares have a greater responsibility and should teach about good touch bad touch to the kids.
·         If young kids can learn about red light, green light and other traffic songs when they are not going to cross the road or drive then it is important to teach them about body safety after all they are learning about body parts/.
·         Let us not  refer to it as ‘sex education’ but call it ‘body intelligence’.

And why has child abuse become an unaddressed problem.
·         Because young kids thrive on touch (it is their primary need for socio-emotional and brain stimulation) they are the easiest targets.
·         It is easy for the perpetrators as kids won’t tell! They lack the language development. And even if they do, parents won’t believe, ‘they are lying, imagining things’.
·         Even if parents find out about it, they are unaware about the law or fear the law, and so this book that tells them that they can come to organizations like us and we will help them maintain the anonymity and yet get the justice.
·         The book educates parents about the legal clause that no one can quote or report the child’s name or other details.
·         Press too should maintain the anonymity. Some times newspapers write about the name of the school or the building and the social stigma starts.
·         Because these perverts are never brought to book, they continue to do so.
·         Parents also need to stop spanking and threatening children as part of their parenting style. Because research has shown that these abusers usually use some form of ‘threatening’ to make kids keep quiet about it.
·         The ‘ostrich’ attitude of ‘if I don’t acknowledge it, it does not happen’ needs to stop and only then will touch never become trouble for another child.
Download the book free from or or buy a copy from, proceeds will be donated for CSA awareness.