[C I Mannou]
Early childhood is considered to be of fundamental importance for the development of an individual. Children learn new things more in the first five years of their lives than any other time of their lives. The time in pre-primary schools, is therefore, recognized as more important than any succeeding period of life.
Ordinarily, children aged about three to four years enter pre-primary schools, but formal learning does not begin at this stage. Children join pre-primary institutions in order to form certain good habits, which will have a permanent value in their lives. The secret of habit formation is that a habit should be inculcated in early childhood. So, it is considered that the nursery stage is not a stage of schooling, but a stage of preparing younger children for living their successive years of life meaningfully.
There is no doubt that some of the habits can be imparted at home, but their proper cultivation is not possible because all guardians cannot pay proper attention to their children. Many remain busy with other domestic work instead of teaching their children. Besides, they cannot always ensure a suitable environment for the development of their children.
In the modern world, financial problems are acute. Parents are therefore, more concerned with earning their livelihood than educating their children. Most guardians lack the patience and knowledge of child psychology, which are required for guiding young children.
The home atmosphere is not congenial for child guidance as some parents may over indulge in their wards, and this may in turn be harmful for their children. For instance, if there is only one child in a family, all the parental affection is showered on him or her. Parents become blind to their child’s shortcomings. Such a child tends to become dependent, selfish and obstinate in nature.
Besides, a child grows in the company of his parents, who are adults and the atmosphere for social living and corporate life cannot be found. On the other hand, if there are several children in a family, proper individual case and attention cannot be given to each.
All these problems find solution in a nursery or pre-primary school where teachers are well trained about the affairs of effective child guidance in the school for proper development of an individual. (The contributor is a retired school principal)