Enquiry Based Learning

Our traditional education methods used to focus on serving ONE correct answer to academic questions in schools. It was a one-way teaching process where the students were passive learners.  Asking questions was not encouraged or appreciated. Today, most preschools are moving away from traditional learning and leaning towards child-centered learning. With this, learning methods that encourage children to think, explore and wonder have gained popularity – and these are based on enquiry-based learning.   Enquiry-based learning is a great way to encourage children to investigate beyond what’s right in front of them, creating more engaged learners.  Instead of being made to listen and absorb information one-way, the child is actively involved in the process, which helps them to develop information processing and problem-solving skills. The teacher takes on the role of a facilitator allowing children to question and explore the many possible answers to one question.

To understand this method, let’s understand through an example of a popular preschool topic—Plants

  1. Initially, the teachers would ask general questions about plants around us, and listen for questions from children in order to lead them into an enquiry teaching and learning process. E.g. the children may ask why the plants are green or the reason some trees are so big or why plucking the flowers is not allowed.
  2. The teachers observe the children to find out their interests, some children talk about how they like to water the plants,  others might say how a plant had pricked them once.  Remember, all questions are valid and welcomed.
  3. Then, to guide them to the specifics of the topic—plants, the teachers plan provocations to develop the children’s thinking skills, inventiveness and reflectiveness. Provocations can be materials, objects, books, photos, drawings, nature specimens, and questions that develop a sense of curiosity in children. The teacher can show the children two plants-one which is not watered regularly and the other which gets enough water, sunlight, etc. The children can be asked about their observations.
  4. At this stage, the teachers can conduct a brainstorming session to find out what children already know as well as what they want to know.
  5. Next, the teachers plan activities for the children’s integrated enquiry teaching and learning experiences that include the sensory, motor, intellectual, and linguistic aspects. For eg. the teacher can provide a wooden puzzle of parts of a plant and let the children solve it by putting all the parts of the plant in their correct place.  This activity would help in enhancing all the aspects mentioned above.

Thus, enquiry based approach is an active learning approach where children are responsible for their own learning. The approach promotes collaborative learning and takes into account the perspective of others, teaching them to be mindful of their peers while learning and discovering at their own pace. It also requires more efforts and preparation on the part of teacher to prepare for such sessions as the right kind of questions lead to the right kind of learning .  But once a teacher gets used to this kind of teaching they find it very interesting and fulfilling  and then they may not want to go back to the traditional one way approach.

Developing thinking minds right from early childhood is the need of the day . We do not want to develop followers but leaders and enquiring minds will ultimately lead to creativity and leadership.

Benjamin Franklin rightly said,     “ Tell me and I will forget,

Teach me and I Remember.

       Involve me and I learn.”


Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first six years of their lives. Given the course of brain development, it is not surprising that young children who are exposed to certain experiences usually prove to be good at those skills.

This window of 0-6 six years of a child’s life can be effectively used to develop several centres of intelligences of the brain. 

Creating opportunities and encouraging children to participate in stage activities like singing, dancing , drama , fancy dress  and other such events has a lot of benefits. 

  1. It develops communication and language skills.
  2. It allows children to act out and make sense of real-life situations
  3. It encourages children to explore, investigate and experiment,
  4. It develops social skills as children, collaborate with others.
  5. It helps  children to learn more as learning is disguised as play.
  6. The parents get an opportunity to witness their children not only coming out of their shells but also melting hearts of all the onlookers.

Preparing children for small dramas helps to improve their overall intelligences . Rehearsing lines and movements , performing them  requires concentration and helps children improve their memory. Working with the group encourages teamwork and collaboration.

Drama requires children to openly express themselves throughout the activity, which helps them become friends by supporting each other. And the best part of this is its learning with a lot of fun and enthusiasm . As a result these are remembered for life unlike other theoretical learnings.

Stage performance is a unique form of creative expression, and it takes a lot of courage to stand on a stage and perform in  front of an audience. Smaller stage environments like preschool functions encourage all children to express their creative ideas in an interactive, nurturing setting. Even the most shy of all the children will be able to build up their self-esteem through  such performances.

Also parents need to understand that like all other learnings this learning of public speaking skills is also a process and it will not happen instantly. Most children go through the process of crying or faltering in their initial performances . But continuous encouragement from parents and school and ongoing exposure will bear results. Very often it is noticed that after a few failed performances , the children pick it up and then there is no looking back . It is a skill acquired for lifetime so much so that we find children enjoying and thriving on stage activities in a year or two provided they get frequent opportunities to face an audience.

When a child is given space to be creative and their imaginations supported, it helps to build their confidence and their self-esteem levels. This confidence gained from performing on stage in the preschool years will be very useful later  in school like  becoming class leaders , prefects, student counsellors, anchoring shows , boldness to answer in a group and many others.

And all these exposures in student life are eventually building the life skill of public speaking and fearless thinking and expressing which will not only help them in their careers but also in every walk of life  throughout their lives. And when they will connect the dots then, they will realize it all started with small performances in preschool.



Montessori’s Theory emphasizes one key concept that has revolutionized the way children learn – the transition from concrete to abstract thinking. This approach involves immersing children in hands-on experiences with real objects before moving on to more abstract concepts and ideas.

The purpose of teaching through a concrete-to-representational-to-abstract sequence of instruction is to ensure students develop a tangible understanding of the math or any other concepts or skills they learn.

The young child moves from concrete thinking to abstract thinking as he begins to experience the world. As they acquire more concepts, they are able to mentally sort through these concepts and identify similarities and differences. They become more able to predict how new situations might develop.

When teaching kids anything new, it is important to remember to start with the concrete and move to the abstract. Many things in life are abstract (for example: addition and subtraction, a foreign language or phonics or vocabulary). It helps our kids  tremendously if we start by teaching concepts in a concrete manner and build up from there. By concrete, I mean they can see it and manipulate it with their hands.  If it applies, they can use all five senses so their brains can make as many connections with it as possible, building prior knowledge and a sturdy foundation for learning.

Take, for example, these three items: 1- the word apple, 2- a picture of an apple, and 3- an actual apple.

CONCRETE: an actual apple–it can be felt, manipulated, cut into, eaten, observed

LESS CONCRETE: a picture of an apple

ABSTRACT: the word apple

If a child has not had experience with the real apple, the word apple will not mean too much to her. It is the same with reading many unfamiliar words.  Our kids need to be able to feel it, manipulate it, “cut into it”, “taste it”, and observe it to make understanding come easier.

Ideas for moving from Concrete to Abstract


Pick activities that appeal to the five senses.  The more senses you can integrate into the lesson, the better!  It can be as simple as playing with ABC puzzles or manipulating magnetic letters to spell sight words. Segregation of 2 pulses into different bowls along with counting. Or patterns making or sequence building with different type of objects like spoon and bowls .


Visit a local fire house, a grocery store, a farm, a post office.

One mistake we can make with field trips is that we go after we’ve studied a certain subject to “wrap up” our study.  But going first would actually be better.


Take a trip to the mountains.  The beach.  The state capital.  The zoo.  Anywhere you can see something new.  Feel the sand between your toes.  Breathe in that mountain air.

Happy Parenting!

Preparing For First Time Schoolers

A Happy Beginning of a School Life

After you have accomplished an all-important job of choosing the right
preschool for your child, are you ready for the next tough job? That is, sending
your precious one away to school for the very first time!
Every year, we see a lot of parents feeling helpless in ‘settling’ their little ones
in the school in the first month. They start complaining about the tantrums
that they have to face every morning while they get the children ready for
school. The endless crying and sobbing breaks even the toughest of us. Many
of us do not put a lot of thought into this, but this transition can be planned in
such a way that the entire family does not go through the separation anxiety.
Here are some tips that you can use a few days before the first day of school.

1. Positive Talk: Generally, your young one has a tendency to listen and
believe everything that you do or say, so use this ‘magic trick’ wisely by
talking very positively about school and what he or she will be expecting
at school. Avoid any negative remarks about the school in front of the
2. Story telling and Videos: Use the story telling/video sessions by
mentioning a school setting and how the little ones enjoy during the
school hours. If possible, visit the school gate a few times to show them
the school and create that excitement in their little minds.
3. Role Play: Little children love roleplays, so the family members can play
“school” and use it to display the type of routines and activities expected
by them. For example, outdoor play area, “tiffin-time” fun with classmates,
sharing of books and toys etc.
4. Set up a Routine: A few days before the school starts, set up a routine
that a child will have to follow later. Setting up a wake-up time,
breakfast, bath time, etc. will help in reducing the stress on the first day
of school.
5. Positive Assurance- Assuring them that you are around waiting for them
to pick them up after the school and showing up on time to pick them up
after the class really helps the kids build trust and confidence in the first
few days of school. 
6. Relax: Last but not the least, you need to relax and have a lot of trust in
this process. Your anxiety and restlessness definitely passes on to the
children. So, have faith and let the child blossom at his/her own pace.

This new phase of your life will definitely become easier if you follow the
above tips with your children. Remember, each child is unique and will
settle in school at her own pace.  

Happy Parenting!

School Events, Why are they important?

School events are a big deal in the life of a child. Some of our fondest memories as adults are of school picnics, sports days and annual functions. While being fun and providing a much-needed break from academics and the business of learning, school events offer many more advantages that may not be immediately evident. TigerCubs preischool recently wrapped up its annual concert and while the event was a roaring success in itself, this post will talk about other benefits of such events. It is a well-known and universally accepted fact that children are impressionable and essentially like intellectual sponges. But even among children, the age group of children that TigerCubs caters to is even more receptive and open. It is therefore the school’s duty to nurture children’s natural curiosity, develop it, and prepare them for the journey called life. Tiger Cubs takes this responsibility very seriously and therefore every day and every class is an opportunity. A school event is just one more great opportunity for children to learn skills that will help them build an enriching life.

  • Emotional Intelligence: Experts on education contend that social gatherings and events help build social skills and empathy. Tiger Cubs events are testimony to this claim as children at a very young age have to coordinate their movements, dialogues, and actions with other children. While teachers do help with this process, the final product depends on how well the children are able to work with each other. The children of Tiger Cubs have time and again performed beyond their years, demonstrating exemplary maturity on stage. This is through repeated group activities that Tiger Cubs encourages throughout the academic year which culminates in an annual concert. The bottom line is that such events are not just an end in themselves, but prepare children for future social interactions and group activities.
The lighting of Lamp to Declare Concert Commencement
  • Developing Public Speaking and Creative Skills: One major aspect in which the children of Tiger Cubs stand out, is their ability to effortlessly navigate stage performances. Be it dancing, acting, or speaking to the audience, it appears that the Tiger Cubs students can ace it all! This is a big achievement for children of such a young age, but it also implies that at the very least children derive confidence and self-esteem from this ability, which will go on to shape their future lives. If developed further this ability can be developed over time for children to consider and pursue careers in art, music, theatre and so on. To have such encouragement and investment in such pursuits from the school is a huge bonus indeed.
  • Break from Academics: This is the most obvious importance of social events at school. However, what isn’t as obvious is the fact that breaks are an integral part of increasing children’s productivity and creative instincts. How do you ask? Far from implying complete disengagement from school work, breaks help children recharge their batteries and give them space to think of other ways to learn and interact with their peers. Tiger Cubs has noticed this about
Children and Faculty in Some Lighter Moments

many of their students. While preparing for such events, students demonstrate their understanding and grasp of different ideas, they are also able to interact with each other freely and exchange ideas (in their own special, childlike ways). On the flip side, children who are unable to demonstrate such a grasp can receive the attention they need, not only for the event itself but otherwise as well.

Children and Faculty in Some Lighter Moments

  • Developing Cultural and Social Sensibilities: Annual events are a great way of learning about local and global cultures in real time and not simply through books. For instance, this year’s theme for the annual concert was “75 years of Independence.” The different items, therefore, depicted major national milestones in the seven and half decades since India won independence. The children learned aspects of their history at a very young age not through books but through actual enactment and role-playing. Children are much more likely to retain the knowledge of their history and culture when taught and received in these ways. It is also a precious way of honoring one’s legacy and national heritage. As part of this overarching theme, students enacted events such as the development of science, liberal reforms, victories in the Kargil battlefield and on the cricket pitch, recognition of Indian music at an international level with the song “Jai Ho” receiving the academy award and Indian women being crowned Miss Universe and Miss World multiple times.
The Doting Audience


  • Building Relationships: Social Events are a great opportunity for children to develop relationships not only with their peers but also with their teachers. The space created through practice and rehearsal sessions gives children a chance to work closely and in a completely different avatar with teachers and classmates. Tiger Cubs faculty and principal, Ms. Reshma Zamindar have consistently asserted this. Tiger Cubs preischool has repeatedly emphasised that interactive and activity learning is the best way and school events are an important means of learning. Learning not only about cultural and historical aspects but also skills such as negotiation, coordination, memory and recall (the children have to remember complex dialogues, dance steps, etc.), empathy towards classmates and most communication. Skills for which corporate agencies pay handsomely!

Vignettes from the Concert – Onstage and backstage

The Creative and Talented Bunch of Teachers and the Force Behind it All

It becomes clear that not just a means of entertainment or breaks from education, school events are an efficient and more importantly fun way of building children’s repertoire of skills and knowledge so that they become successful and effective leaders in the future.

Maximising Your Child’s Learning Abilities

Our Learning abilities largely depend on our learning styles. All of us have an innate learning style and if we receive information in that style we are able to absorb it much more easily .

For example if my learning style is auditory that is listening then I will absorb information very fast through audio recordings or narrations .

As most of our learning is through sensory organs there are three basic learning styles that anyone can have Auditory (Listeners), Visual (Lookers) and Kinesthetic (Movers). We start showing these preferences right from very young age . We can find some babies who are very keen observers , some who are keen listeners and some who are movers . Though a child may have a preferred innate learning style it is possible to help them develop other ways of learning too so that their all round development is possible. And this can be best done in the formative years that is the 0 -6 years window. As an adult it is very difficult for us to change our learning styles and as a result we find we are good at certain skills but poor at others . Generally these skills which we are not good at would require a learning ability which does not suit our learning style and as we did not develop it in our early years it remain untapped. For example if I am a looker or a visual learner I may not be able to pick up different languages fast as my listener skill were not developed.

So as early childhood educators or parents of young children , it is very essential that we observe a child when he enters the preschool and find out their innate learning style . It is possible to do this by giving them various activities related to these three learning styles. You may typically observe that a listener child will be very interested to listen to rhymes and stories and if the child can speak he will participate in conversation by speaking words or sentences. A looker child will enjoy playing with blocks , picture cards , observe colourful surroundings , colouring . They will have very good hand eye coordination. And of course mover child is very easy to identify . He will be constantly on the go , jumping around , lying down , watching outside the window, etc.

So if in the first few months we are able to identify the child’s learning style , we can then teach the child by providing activities suiting that style . For example teach a looker child by showing picture flashcards , etc, teach a listener child by narrating stories and oral instructions , teach a mover child by involving them in physical activities with oral instructions . Looker and listener children are easily able to adapt to our learning environments and traditional school system . They usually do not have much trouble sailing through the academics . However their learning abilities can be much more enhanced if their innate learning style is enhanced and their weaker areas are brought at par. Mover children are the ones who find it most challenging to cope up with the regular school system and specially academics . So if at an early age mover children are identified and if we can focus on improving their listener and looker skills they can become very good all rounders too.

I am listing here a few activities that can be done to enhance or develop each of these skills mainly in preschoolers . These activities will vary as the children grow up.

Looker Skill Enhancer Activities

– Help them solve a variety of puzzles

– Help them make Scrapbooks of Pictures , Photographs

– Help them with activities like Connecting Dots and other such workbooks

– Play Simple Card Games with them

– Different types of Colouring activities

– Do Picture Talks with them. Show them a picture with multiple pictures and activities and let them talk about what they see

Listener Skill Enhancer Activities

– Substitute specific names for generic names. Eg rose instead of flower

– Role play telephonic conversation

– Recite with them Tongue Twisters

– Narrate stories and poetries to them

– If people around speak different languages let them talk and listen to all of them

Mover Skill Enhancer Activities

– Hop, Jump, Twirl

– Texture Feeling and Matching

– Hand clapping Games

– Action rhymes

– Simon Says game

– Painting the floor with water

Our behaviour correction of children also should be according to their learning style .

For a Looker it can be just a warning glance

For a Listener it may have to be proper explanations

For a Mover you may have to divert their attention to some other activity

So as Early Childhood Educators if we are able to identify and help the child develop all three learning styles , the child will find learning a very enjoyable process and as parents we will be able to guide them later to a career which suits their innate learning style . A looker may turn out to be a great artist but also enjoy conversing with people and socialise , a listener may become linguistic genius but also appreciate art and a mover may become a star athlete but also a musician and an organised person.

Impact of Lockdown on Preschool Children

Before March 2020 no one had imagined what a pandemic was. Even when the first lockdown was imposed many thought it was a temporary phase of a month or two and life will be restored to normal soon. But many experts had already predicted it for atleast 2 years. For the first few days we even enjoyed the quietness that spread in the environment and the sudden breaks that were applied in our fast pace life. But soon we also realised how we take so many things for granted as they are easily available. We realised the importance of freedom of movement which was highly restricted. Another realisation all of us with children at home got was the importance of school.

First thing that got affected for the entire household in absence of school was the daily rhythm. The entire family works in a set rhythm even if one child at home is going to school. Right from waking up on time, to morning routines, to meal times, to sleep habits everything is governed by the school routine of the children at home. With flexibility in office timings as it is life is in a bad rhythm and to add to that the school got online and in most cases got into a recorded mode rather than live mode. A child could chose to do the schooling anytime of the day . Children slept till 10 and 11 in the morning and then did not sleep till midnight. Rhythm is considered to be one of the 4 pillars of healthy early childhood life and also of adult life in general. Most of the adults too were stressed out due to irregular and extended office calls stretching into late night and sometimes even in the wee hours of morning. Lack of rhythm causes unpredictability and anything that is unpredictable cause anxiety and stress.

Another fallout of the social distancing and isolation is lack of social and emotional skills in young children. So many children who were born during the pandemic have not seen people other than their family. If they were lucky to stay in a joint family they saw atleast a few people other than their parents. But there are a large number of toddlers who have grown up in their formative years with only their parents around. This definitely affects the social and emotional intelligence of a child which is rapidly developing in the first 6 years of a child’s life. In quite a few social functions I notice young children acting very hostile towards people and parents using terms like lock down babies or lock down syndromes very casually. Many parents who are aware and see that this needs correction make attempts to get them to interact with people consistently. These learnings which the children got naturally through the environment earlier, now parents will have to make deliberate attempts to imbibe them in these little ones.

As we have opened doors of school we see the effects of stunted social and emotional intelligence in our preschoolers. Preschool time which was earlier just considered as entertainment and casual playtime by many was one of the many things that was taken for granted. But this pandemic has brought out its importance in the formative years of a child’s life more than ever before.

Little toddlers who have not seen many people are more anxious than ever to see new faces in school. They do not want to interact with other children and are happy to play alone. They are not interested to share the toys and for that matter not even share their teacher’s attention. They lack patience to wait for their turn and are insensitive to their peer’s needs. Children have been used to attending online classes with the system being muted. They were all alone in front of the system and could talk and yell without being heard by the teacher. They got undivided attention of their parent during the online classes. They do the same in the offline classes and the teacher spends time to train them to take turns and be quiet while others are talking.

So, as we start our offline classes we are focusing more on activities that will develop their emotional quotient (EQ) than their intelligence quotient (IQ) . School and parents will have to be aware about this and not focus only on academics but also do a lot of activities to fill up this gap in emotional intelligence created due to long period of isolation. Including a lot of exercise to strengthen their eye sight , including a lot of sports activities will also help to combat the effects of too much screen time which was unavoidable during the pandemic. Children may have got used to a lot of screen time but parents and school will have to put in extra efforts towards getting them out of this habit .

Finally I would say to parents of children who have lost precious learnings in the formative years to not stress them all of a sudden as schools have opened up. Building a strong foundation is necessary for all further learnings of life. If the foundation is weak and you hurry the child to move on to higher classes it maybe detrimental for the child’s future learning process. An extra year spent in building the foundation now may prove a very wise decision as compared to a life time of difficulty in learning in future.