The preschool experience has now become of paramount importance for the urban couple that has large disposal income and less time to spare to parenting….
In-vogue and how
Something which was looked upon with suspicion and much inhibition, The preschooling regime has become a ‘necessary evil’ for toddlers and young parents alike. The Preschool market today, is a rising market in India. Also, with an increase in disposable income of many young parents, spending power on education has gone up. However, the bad news is that it is highly under-penetrated. Unfortunately, only a percent of children are currently enrolled in preschool in India, if you were to compare this figure with 100 percent penetration in France and Scotland.
Out of these figures, only a mere 17 percent is actually an organised preschool market in India. Undeniably, there is therefore a huge untapped potential in this upcoming and emerging area of education.
Young one’s choice
The preschooler ideally comprises kids from the age group of two to six years. At the moment, working parents in nuclear set-ups are gunning for preschool facilities, as safe havens for their little ones. So, some schools also cater to day care facilities for toddlers.
General activities comprise crafts that are incorporated in detailed lesson plans along with fun activities. These cater to the development of gross motor skills, speech clarity, cognitive abilities and learning about our surroundings for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten. Many preschools also look after the nutritional needs of the children and relieve the parent from the daily hanging and spending energy on developing social habits like table manners, social eating, proper posture etc. All this and much more, has become a part of the curriculum of Preschools.
Soft Skill Enhancement
Preschool business is an excellent choice for many trained professionals and women who want to be the master of their own establishments. No wonder, this segment today attracts huge investments from private players as entry barriers here are low. This has been possible because the target audience (the young parent) now understands the importance of Preschool education, in the formative years of their child.
Hectic work schedules and demands of intercity work has gradually seen the doing away of the traditional joint family system which used to guarantee the most healthy and conducive learning-growing environment for a toddler. Today, the Preschool has filled in the gap. It has become an ideal playfield to enhance a child’s emotional and intellectual growth, in the absence of the joint family system.
Most preschools also invest in conducting positive parenting workshops. This is because they understand the need for making the parent as much a custodian for their child’s development, as much as they hold themselves ‘serious and committed’. This is more so because this age-group of children need careful, patient and gentle handling. Therefore, a confluence between the caregiver and parent is of paramount importance.
There are some unavoidable challenges. One is that the model is not cost effective till it reaches a break-even point, which usually takes 5 years from the start of the business. So, the proprietor has to have large coffers. Secondly, the expectations of parents are at times, extremely unrealistic and mostly driven by emotion. So, there may be gaps in what is promised and what can actually be delivered. Thirdly, attrition rate of skill labour is a major challenge in India. There is huge lack of skilled teachers; and even if you have them skilled, the pays are usually not attractive enough to keep them engaged and involved for a longer time. This creates a huge imbalance in the emotional equilibrium of a preschool, when a child may start closely identifying with a teacher who isn’t there anymore.
Everything said and done, the preschool business is in to stay and grow into a lush tree, spreading its branches and shading many more, in times to come.