Today I visited The Little Kingdom preschool in Batinda, Punjab in India. The entire outside of the building is designed to look like a castle. It’s a giant yellow castle, with colorful highlights. Inside, I found a thoughtful, pedagogically-intentional learning space. Preschools are somewhat of a new phenomena in India, and it seems like they are starting out on a great foot. In India, there are government schools and public schools—government schools are like U.S. public schools, and Indian public schools are similar to U.S. private schools, slightly confusing. One interesting difference though, is that the privately-run/owned schools are generally for-profit organizations. Education is a big business in India.
The Little Kingdom school that I toured is one of those for-profit schools, but most interestingly it is a franchise. There is a group out of New Delhi selling franchises in this school. With a franchise purchase, one receives complete curricula and training, furniture schematics, room configuration plans, payrolls structures, administrative procedures, and more. Pretty much everything you need to know to run a school. Follow the manual’s setup section, hire some qualified teachers and you have yourself a school!
Computers are still absent from many, many schools in India. This preschool however, had a computer room. The room interestingly enough was shaped like a helicopter, and the room was in the cockpit. Inside there was an astronaut-themed room setup with computers and printers. The computers were loaded with educational software which can be manipulated with simple mouse movements – needs to be easy for preschoolers!
The school also had its own transporation team. They had a few vans, and some excellent rickshaws for the close-by students. Imagine seeing this pulling up to pick up your preschooler.
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