EuroKids is among the first to adopt innovative learning initiatives to stay ahead of the others. We realise that the preschool is children’s first step outside the comfort of the home and away from their parents, says Prajodh Rajan, Co-founder & CEO, EuroKids, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
What are the emerging trends you see in early childhood education in India as well as globally?
Preschool education in India is set to witness tremendous growth owing to increasing levels of awareness around early childhood education and increased cognizance among parents for the need of a well reputed and structured preschool education. Parents today keep themselves updated with latest developments in the world of education and knowledge. They want their children to flourish in a nurturing environment.
Another trend we observe is the increase in the demand for technology-driven content. We, at EuroKids, have a clear philosophy to ensure that only age appropriate technological exposure is provided to pre-schoolers in structured and supervised environment, which ensures holistic growth for the young children.
Many parents express great concern and are anxious about the levels of safety observed at pre-schools. A preschool being the child’s first experience away from the parents is a huge leap for both the parents as well as the child. Hence, a parent’s trust increases when a professionallyrun preschool brand ensures safety of the child.
Lastly, many parents do realise that a preschool education is incomplete without their children remaining physically fit even at the tender ages of up to 6 years. Parents today are of the view that a fit body is as important as a focussed mind and look for a preschool that focuses on shaping the health of their children.
What are the major challenges of running a preschool (chain) in a country like India?
I think the most significant challenge we faced was at the onset, to create a sense of awareness for the benefits of a structured pre-schooling experience for the child and to showcase to parents how child-centric all our efforts are. Back then, most parents were comfortable sending their children to the nearest preschool or the most popular preschool in the vicinity.
However as we spread our network of preschools, most parents started to realise the benefits that brand EuroKids brought to the table, i.e., the safety norms and standards adopted at our preschools; the high levels of hygiene and cleanliness maintained; the structured curriculum based on research findings by ‘Centre on the Developing Child’ at Harvard University; our wellness initiatives to ensure the well-being of the child whilst at preschool and many more. All of these made us the preferred choice for the parents.
Operationally, we still do face challenges with finding adequately trained teaching resources. To combat this challenge, we initiated EuroVarsity – an online teacher training and certification programme for women who would like to pursue a preschool teaching career. This ensures that we have a steady mechanism to fulfill our teaching requirements at our pre-schools. To ensure that our existing teachers periodically update their skill sets, we have developed ETAT (EuroKids Teacher Assessment Tool) – an online teacher assessment and training tool which ensures that teachers at our pre-schools comply with specific uniform standards and that their skill sets are continuously upgraded so that they remain the best in the business.
We realise that the preschool is children’s first step outside the comfort of the home and away from their parents. Hence we provide a nurturing environment with emphasis on child development, enhanced safety protocols, superior hygiene norms.
How do you think your schools differ from others?
EuroKids is among the first to adopt innovative learning initiatives to stay ahead of the others. At EuroKids, we place tremendous importance on providing a caring atmosphere for children. We realise that the preschool is children’s first step outside the comfort of the home and away from their parents. Hence we provide a nurturing environment with emphasis on child development, enhanced safety protocols, superior hygiene norms. We also establish a close connection with the parents of each child so that a close bond between the home and the preschool is created. All these elements when in synergy make that perfect ‘second home for the child’.
Our curriculum focuses on developing ‘Executive Function Skills’ (EFS) in children that are crucial for learning, development and positive behaviour. It integrates multiple representation, expression and engagement to focus on developing EFS vital for the next gen learners.
This approach has been our growth driver and has ensured that brand EuroKids has had significant impact on the education domain in the country. Our presence extends across three countries, over 900 pre-schools, more than 350 towns and cities. We have positively contributed to the growth and development of over 3,00,000 children.
What are your plans for expansion in India as well as abroad?
We are a franchised business and we intend to expand it beyond more than 900 pre-schools that are already present. We do sense a maturing of the major metro cities and believe that there is great untapped potential in tier-II and tier-III towns and cities and have focused our energies on these territories. We are present in over 350 towns and cities and our plan is to expand our network and double it in the next 48 months. Internationally, we are present in Nepal and Bangladesh and will be shortly entering Sri Lanka.
How does your chain of schools utilise the power of technology for improved early education?
Technology today is all pervasive. However when it comes to pre-schooling, the amount of technology that a child must be exposed to in his formative years must be supervised. At EuroKids, we believe we provide a controlled learning environment for the child where there is age-appropriate tech-enabled learning initiatives. As part of our curriculum, we offer Motion-Based Learning, a unique programme which makes use of innovative visual techniques to showcase a digital curriculum in the form of games, stories, rhymes, videos etc. Additionally, to keep the parents in the know of all the developments at our pre-schools, we have the Buddy App which showcases all the fun activities, learnings, pictures of fun times, details of field trip schedules, engagement programmes and many more so that the parents are aware of the typical day at EuroKids.