Preschools in Sri Lanka

by Needra de Silva
(Sri Lanka)

In our school, we had removed all the desks and chairs and began to sit on mats with the kids so that teachers and students are on the same level which allows for more interaction.

When I teach a little boy numbers. I would go down on the mat beside him. Instead of simply asking him to repeat and write the numbers, I use poles of different sizes, equally divided into parts, representing different numbers. The varying lengths give the child a sense of proportion, of the meaning and concept of amounts, so that he understands what he writes instead of mechanically putting pen to paper.

Each child is different, so the methods employed must be varied. The important thing is to see things from the child's perspective and not the adult's. Sadly even homes are built to suit adults. Nobody remembers that the child is in a strange and alien world, and does not understand much of what is now familiar to us as adults,"

Every child has an innate sense of discipline and a need to express themselves. Education should not kill instinct, but rather should enhance it. Our motto is to help the child be self-disciplined, self-developing and self learning. We teachers control the environment, not the child.

Our system of learning encourages children to express themselves wholly and without reservation. It develops personality and bridges the gap between adult and child, without force or performance.

I feel the first test that should be given to potential teachers, is one in morality.

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Submitted by: Needra de Silva from Sri Lanka- city of Colombo

Needra de Silva - a teacher for over 30 years, is one of Sri Lanka's senior educationists. She conducts internationally recognized Teacher Training programs and runs the Woodlands House of Children in Colombo. Yet she affirms that she never stops learning.

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