These days sending children, who have just crossed the 2+ yr barrier, to a play school is looked upon as a normal and accepted part of the Delhi lifestyle. The concept had started more than a decade-and-a-half ago and at that time the very idea of sending a 2 to 3 year old to a ‘school’ seemed shocking to most citizens of Delhi. It was a nearby ‘aunty’ or a couple of housewives who had put up some basic kind of infrastructure that was called a day-care facility and thus pioneered the introduction of play schools in Delhi.

Such small-scale and domestic play-schools were largely unprofessional in nature and were operated with the most humble of budgets and were looked upon as a method of keeping the children busy for a few hours. Initially, sending one’s child to these ‘play schools’ was looked upon as a sign of being rich or as a mark of being socially progressive. However, with the passage of time and the changing financial equations of Delhi households, the ideology associated with sending children to a play school has also changed.

The Transformation
There are a number of factors which have contributed to play schools being accepted across Delhi. These include —

Nuclear Families
— the changing social set-up has meant the advent of more nuclear families in Delhi. Thus, the domestic support of grandparents is being constantly eroded. Without any elderly or parental support at home, most parents are willing that their child spends some time in a more interactive environment that is found in a play school.

No Time for Kids!
— most parents are faced with longer working hours including night shifts and increasing professional obligations. As a result, families have restricted parenting time and have, thus, welcomed the introduction of play schools in Delhi.

Social Acceptance
— the young families are competitive in every possible way. Now, preschooling and play-schooling is also seen upon as a lifestyle statement or as a testament of someone being educated and informed. Thus, more and more parents are opting to send their child to a play school.

Increased Awareness
— with the city becoming home to more educated and informed people, it is no longer a debated fact that most men and women have realised the importance of sending a child to a play school. Nearly every young parent is aware of the physical, social and emotional benefits of their child spending time in a stimulating environment which aids the child’s growth and development.

Working Couples
— like any other metropolitan city in the country, Delhi too has witnessed the trend of more and more women opting to work for a living or for quenching their professional thirst. This has meant that the extent of motherhood in terms of the time spent with the child has been reduced, thus creating the need for play schools.
Such working couples, in nuclear family set-ups, have happily welcomed and patronised the introduction of play schools in Delhi.

Higher Family Incomes
— introduction of foreign investments, a booming economy and the spurt of MNCs and BPOs has meant higher incomes for parents. The household incomes have multiplied across the city. This is a very important factor in parents welcoming and supporting the introduction of play schools in Delhi as the affordability factor is no longer an issue.

— the preschool/play school sector has become very professional. Thus, parents are assured of a safe and healthy learning environment for their children. International teaching methods, qualified teachers and school-provided transport facilities mean that a parent’s anxiety about sending their child to a play school have been negated.

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