Keeping The Tongue Free Of Twisters With Preschool Sanskrit

INDIA, July 26, 2013 (Pune Mirror): Life as a student is bit off the beaten path for four-year-old Ovi Kale. Till she leaves her parents at the school gates, she speaks Marathi. But once in class, it’s Sanskrit — a language mostly associated with Hindu religious ceremonies, but rarely with preschool kids. Like Ovi, 700 other students at the Nyayamurti Ranade Balak Mandir, a kindergarten based in Shaniwar Peth, begin their day with Sanskrit — a compulsory module across playgroup, junior and senior KG classes.

Run by the Deccan Education Society (DES), the compulsory spoken Sanskrit module encompasses storytelling, recitation, poetry and prayers, and students are taught to greet each other in Sanskrit. The reason for this, say school authorities, is not only to preserve Sanskrit but also to improve students’ speech and pronunciation skills at an early age. School principal Varsha Joshi, said, “The idea was conceived as a collective decision of the teaching staff and management in order to ensure that students learn more effectively and that their linguistic skills get honed in their formative years.

The syllabi have been designed keeping the developmental, intellectual and linguistic capacities of the students in mind.” Joshi added that the curriculum at the first level of playgroup entails mere introduction to some Sanskrit greetings as the students are in the age group of two to five years. In the next level of junior class, the students are gradually made to deal with alphabets, words, numbers and days of the week and so on followed by the senior level, where children actually learn prayers, stotras or hymns and are made to engage in fundamental dialogues, she said.

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