Dr. Maria Montessori’s method of education concentrated mainly on developing a child’s natural curiosity by means of individual freedom and development according to the needs of the child. Hence she prepared many activities to improve sharpness while developing the five senses. Early childhood development focuses on a period of remarkable physical, cognitive, social and emotional change and the preschool environment plays a pivotal role in this transition period. But rather than enhancing motor skills and other psychosocial developments, today’s preschool education system is stagnated with competition and parental anxieties, particularly of those hoping to send their children to the ‘best’ or ‘popular’ schools in the country. While many work for the money, it is only a handful that actually wants to and has the patience to work with children.
However, post-COVID, preschool teachers are demanding better compensation and a regulation within the preschool system.
The need to regulate preschools:
“Since March preschool teachers have been jobless for nearly 104 days,” said Samanmalee Gunasinghe representing Vishwa Preschool Teachers Union. “Preschool teachers haven’t been entitled to the Rs. 5000 allowance either. There are around 19,440 registered preschools in Sri Lanka with over 40,000 teachers. There are nearly 500,000 preschool children with 150,000 of them qualifying for Grade 1 and this includes children from all strata of society. The preschool is where a child is familiarised into society and it’s where early childhood development begins. But it’s sad to see that preschools aren’t regulated within a formal education system. As a result the preschool teacher was forgotten during the curfew period. There have been instances when government institutions had collected their details, but that was it,” said Gunasinghe.
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