What does foundation mean to me?

Mrs.Shobhana Vaidyanathan

Recently I conducted two workshops and I gave the following example to help them see and understand the value of the foundational education especially Montessori.

Let’s take the construction of a multi storied building with 10 floors. The engineer who is in charge has to understand the nature of the land, do the necessary scientific study to see what is the type and the depth of foundation has to be made. He then facilitates and guides the workers to do the same. Often we know the laying of foundation takes the longest time. The strength of the building lies in the quality of the foundation laid in the years to come. As a buyer of a flat I assume that all this is being taken care of. I would not care to witness the place at the time of the laying of foundation as I cannot see any concrete form as yet. Only when the building is almost coming up and I see that my flat is now getting plastered and the physical infrastructure is visible that I can see what has gone thru’ it. If the building develops cracks or things are not fine I can always do the necessary plastering or repairing over as far as my flat is concerned.

However if the fault is in the foundation and the building collapses then that is the worst thing that can happen. With modern technology this is rare as our lives are dear to us.

Let’s now look at education especially at the foundation level. Here the engineer is the teacher or the adult and the recipient is the child.
A physical building requires or demands a trained qualified engineer. Do we expect the same when adults are working with young children? The children whose entire future is based on what kind of foundation they are getting. Here it is not only the growth and development of the physical body but his total development i.e. psychical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual.
The general attitude of people, parents etc. are that what is the big deal when it comes to early child hood education. Why should a person be trained or qualified to handle young children?
We take it for granted and assume things will be right if my child goes to any nursery or Kg school nearby. As long he is kept happy and occupied I don’t care what are the impressions and influences that he is taking in. Well when things go wrong later, unfortunately we cannot plaster or repair them!