Schooling has turned into a major business sector in India. Securing admission in a reputed senior secondary school is often linked to the quality and brand name of the preschool or playschool that he child had attended. Parents are often faced with preschools/playschools that advertise themselves as the ‘best preparatory school for children’. Many policy changes have been made regarding the admission process in the preschool sector but these guidelines are being openly flouted by the preschools that might market themselves as the ‘best preparatory school for children’.
Again, the interviewing of the parents in the senior secondary schools has also been abolished. This was to ensure that the blatant commercialisation of the preschooling sector in India was abolished. This is because often the interview process would grind the parents regarding the preschooling options they had made. Just to give an overview, with these policies in place, even parents seeking admission to the supposed ‘best preparatory school for children’ were often humiliated in terms of their qualifications and financial status.
However, there are some worthy play schools that are truly preparatory schools and have positioned themselves as a means to bridge the gap before leaping into an environment for senior secondary or formal education. Some people have suggested that a ‘play school’ is actually a misnomer as the curriculum of preschools isn’t about random playing and is based upon certain theme-based, purposeful interactive sessions that endeavour to ensure a child’s holistic development.
Play Schools – the urban connection
Play schools are just entering the semi-urban areas or industrial towns. Presently, there are largely looked upon as an urban need — an urban phenomenon. This is largely due to the fact that the disposable incomes are higher in the cities and the number of nuclear families is increasing by the moment. Again the concept of working parents translates into greater need for preschools/playschools.
Forays have been made into the non-urban centres like Zee Interactive Learning Systems. They have introduced a playschool-based theme called the ‘Grameen’ model in smaller towns. Such a playschool might not be able to boast as being the best preparatory school for children but certainly fulfils the purpose in its own way. There have been some attitudinal changes that have led to a growing demand for play schools. The debate regarding a play school’s purpose is increasingly fading away.