Less Privileged Children need a Headstart to be ready for school
No public education program in Pakistan has addressed this very crucial need of these children.
Umeed Preschool Program has catered to this need for a Headstart by tackling the handicaps with a multi dimensional approach
Umeed Enrichment Program (UEP) was developed as a Head-Start for less privileged pre-school children by Dr. Shireen Zafarullah. In her doctoral research (1996) she discovered that the deprived children inherited many handicaps from their un-stimulating environment; and that they needed special experiences to reduce or overcome them.
These handicaps are found in the area of
- Skill development
- Concept development
- Language development
After entering school these children are faced with another tragedy – rote learning. These students are not required to think independently or to use their minds so they stop thinking on their own. Hence they can easily be indoctrinated and can become playthings or robots in the hands of others.
New teaching strategies can rekindle the thinking part of the young minds which tends to otherwise stagnate because of rote learning.
The purpose of this early intervention is to:
- Remove the handicaps and prepare the children for school;
- Bridge the gap between children of different classes;
- Enhance school enrolment;
- Reduce drop out rate among them.
- Develop essential thinking skills
The tragedy of our public school systems is rote learning. This program is highly specialized as unlike the usual rote learning program it provides children with opportunities to think for themselves. They are given options to choose from and decide for themselves. Thus empowering them to learn on their own and develop a very crucial thinking skill – curiosity. The vision is to develop questioning minds and keen learners.
Dr Shireen Zafarullah says: One cannot grow trees in flower pots. Learning to read and write is not the only goal of education. Education must also develop a sophisticated language and realistic concepts. In other words it should advance a person’s knowledge of the world around him and help in the development of an independent, confident, and wholesome personality.