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I was delighted to interview Swati Popat Vats the inspirational Director of Podar Jumbo Kids, the largest & most successful play school chain in India & also the person behind Podar Happy Kids, the highly acclaimed day-care chain.
Swati Popat Vats is the founder director of Podar Jumbo Kids & is also the person behind India’s superlative college of early childhood teacher training called the Podar Institute of Education.
When Swati decided to make changes in the early childhood education system, she obliterated stress from pre-primary education with one stroke, by promoting the removal of the red and blue lines and cursive writing in preschools, thus gifting children stress-free learning and coined a new philosophy ‘Kiducation’ a brain based progressive and child friendly curriculum. She also got parents to participate in their child’s learning in every way. She has changed many nursery rhymes like ‘piggy on the railway, ‘ringa, ringaroses’,’humpty dumpty’ to make them more developmentally appropriate for young kids.
An advocate for children’s rights, Swati has worked incessantly to promote developmentally-appropriate curriculum and banning school interviews of children. Her most recent agenda is the pursuit to bring awareness about child safety be it traffic safety or child sexual abuse and for this she has developed workshops and written two books- ‘When Touch Becomes Trouble’ and ‘The Secret Touch’, that can help kids, teachers and parents. As the President of Early Childhood Associationshe is active in ensuring that people from all walks of life come together for early childhood as she deeply believes that, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’
As the leader for Asia of the Nature Action Collaborative for Children (NACC) she works tirelessly to ensure that children in India grow up knowing the earth and learning to respect nature right from the start. She is also the National Representative for India at the World Forum Foundation which works for early childhood in 150 countries and whose mission is to promote an ongoing global exchange of ideas on the delivery of quality services for young children in diverse settings.
Through all this Swati has been authoring many books on and for children. Mr. Pencil and Friends, How To Teach So Kids Can Learn, Are You Unknowingly Harming Your Child, How To Be A Super Mom, Play is the Work of Childhood, Yipes!, Why Does Zelda Need Stripes?,Lappu and the Magic of Paanihave all received rave reviews.Recently she has authored the new age fairy tale series that has revolutionized traditional fairy tales and made them more relevant for kids, the titles include- 3 Little Pigs Save The Earth, Red Riding Hood And The Wolf That Liked Healthy Food, Goldilocks And The 3 Magic Words and Hansel And Gretel And The Kind Old Lady.
Other books recently authored by her- Growing up with Mahatma Gandhi, Why did Humpty Dumpty and Jack and Jill fall down?, The Tiger, the Sparrow and the Bee.
Swati sought to spread an awareness on parenting and early years education in as many avenues as possible: as the educational advisor for Tata Sky’s interactive television games channel, Actve Whizkid; while designing an education kit released by IL&FS, called Smart Kit; and as founder curriculum content and development head of Euro Kids during its inception years.
Swati writes parenting columns for Savvy, Mother & Baby, DNA newspaper Bangalore,Parent Edge, Teacher Magazineandis parenting expert for Aditya Birla web portal and iDiva online newspaper of Times of India. She has also founded India’s first video based parenting website Born Smart, that helps parents understand the importance of the first 1000 days in nurturing a child’s brain development.
Swati’s efforts were recognized when she received the Gold Award for Child Education from the Governor of Goa and recently the Fellowship of Honour from New Zealand Tertiary College. Most recently she was awarded by the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India for outstanding achievements, transforming lives, dedication to service and immense valuable contributions to society and received the Excellence Award from Brain Feed Magazine in Dubai for her outstanding service in School Education and promoting collaboration for schools to rise together.
A parenting mentor/guru, an educator, an advocate for child’s rights, a curriculum consultant, school designer, an entrepreneur, a school director, an author, a teacher… The President of Podar Education Network may play many roles but beneath all this is the intrinsic need to give childhood to children in as many ways as possible. Podar Jumbo Kids, the Kiducation Philosophy Early Childhood Centre is set up as a research hub in early childhood learning and represents a brand new era of early childhood education focusing on brain development, innovative teaching practices, parental involvement and developmentally appropriate curriculum. Over the years, teaching-learning projects conducted by Podar Jumbo Kids have gained international recognition at early childhood forums, benchmarked against best international practices.
I asked Swati what she set out to do 25 years ago, what needed to be changed in India in early years education and what she meant by the phrase ‘kiducation’?
We discuss the fact that children in the UK are becoming endlessly tested from an early age and are beginning to equate learning with stress & how the early childhood care programme at Podar Jumbo Kids Plus is committed to giving children the correct stress-free environment to help the child’s growing brain & what we can learn from her approach.
President- Podar Education Network
President- Early Childhood Association. ECA
www.eca-india.orgTeach kids about good touch-bad touch-
http://youtu.be/H2-vuQppv1kKindergarten kids-ipad project-Mahatma Gandhi