Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 50, Tuesday January 13 , 2008





Pixieland Play Group is a pre-school that has been providing valuable service to parents of young children in Dhaka since 1985. Maliha Quddus, its founder and headmistress has reason to feel proud, as she sits on a bench in the playground and watches a group of three-year-olds enjoying themselves on the slide.

“We plan the activities according to the child's abilities. Our main focus is on increasing motivation and concentration. As you may know, a child's concentration span is very short, so we feel that if we can make the child concentrate on anything for more than one and a half or two minutes, we have achieved something,” Quddus said, and added “And confidence is also a major issue. There are so many children here and none are crying; that is a big thing in itself.”

On an average day, Pixieland is a home away from home for forty to forty five toddlers between the ages of one and three, after which the children can go to regular schools. The pre-school is open weekdays from eight in the morning till twelve noon, and has nine teachers to educate and entertain the tiny tots.

“At this age there are many things that a child has not been taught, like sharing, and waiting their turn. When they are in an environment like a pre-school, they have to interact with other children their own age, who have similar demands and temperaments. At home children usually get what they want when they want it, but in a pre-school they realize that they will have to share and wait for their turn,” Quddus said.

Although the pre-school has a relaxed atmosphere, there is a routine that is followed. Once a child goes there, he or she has some free time to paint or play with play dough and other toys, such as puzzles. If the child is a slow learner, the teachers pay them individual attention to help them with whatever problems they are having. Then the children are gathered in a circle to sing songs and learn different expressions, such as describing the weather. Then they wash their hands, by which time the ayahs have served the food on the tiny tables for snack time. After snack time, they sit down to their projects, which ranges from gluing, pasting to working with natural objects.

“Projects are important because it provides the children with something to take home and continue their activities,” said the founder of the school.

On the importance of pre-schools to children and parents, Quddus said, “The fear of school is quite a common fear among first time school-goers. The message we are trying to project is that school can be fun. Children who go to pre-school are more developed than those who don't because in a pre-school they have to face peer pressure, and they have to let go of their favourite toys and learn to make sacrifices. All these prepare them for school life.

“Also, it is good training for parents in getting their child ready for school on time. It can be quite a headache, and it is beneficiary to develop this habit in parent and child when the stakes are not as high as they are in school. We encourage our students to be regular in coming everyday, but are not as strict about timings as schools are,” she explained.

With life becoming more frenetic and free time becoming scarcer, the option of pre-schools will likely become an integral part of upper middle class life. It is heartening to see that institutions like Pixieland have been operating successfully, because their long experience in the field ensures that parents can feel safe leaving their precious ones in their care.

Address: House 4, Road 44, Gulshan 2, Dhaka. Phone- 01713001170.

Photo courtesy Pixieland

Budget Smart

Landing on the Right Bike

Ryan SEN, a college student, would like to get a bicycle this New Year. His budget is Tk. 4500. It seems that bicycles as a mode of transportation are somehow underrated in Bangladesh, as we don't see them very often in the streets. This trend should be reversed, since bicycles are environmentally friendly, enjoyable, and a great way to burn those extra calories.

Bongshal is the Mecca when it comes to bicycles. In Bangladesh, we get mainly Chinese brands. There is no brand that could be recommended in particular. When buying bicycles in Bangladesh, choice of brands is not that important. Weight, however, is.

The lighter the bike the better it is - at least when it comes to convenience and speed. There are many heavy cycles that could lure you into spending because of their aesthetic beauty but it's better to avoid them. Don't choose style over substance. Fortunately, the stores will be able to offer you many nice, lighter bikes that have 'style' as well. Price range of bikes start from around Tk. 3200, and spending Tk.4500 should get you a bike that is good enough.

But 'good enough' is quite a dangerous word to use here. You might see your friend elated after he spotted a 'perfect' bike for himself, but you might not just get his point after you ride it for yourself. Choosing a bike is all about your personal comfort level, and always varies from person to person. So, do sit on every cycle you think you might buy to check whether it matches your height, whether you could easily reach the brakes, etc. Do several test drives.

The price is a bit high if the bike has gears and shock absorbers. It would be wise not to purchase cycles with gears. One reason is that they are likely to cause technical problems and another reason is, well, you won't actually get that much of a chance to use them- thanks to the condition of the streets and traffic in Bangladesh. Shock absorbers are somewhat useful but definitely not necessary.

Another apparently attractive device is the speedometer. This is, however, attached only with racing-bikes, which are really sleek and specially crafted to reach high-speed levels. But they'll result in a bigger amount of cash outflow from your wallet - prices are around Tk. 6100. However, the stores could attach a speedometer in any bike. For that, you have to spend around 450 bucks.

The stores also have a collection of bicycles for toddlers with characters like Harry Potter printed on them. Prices vary a lot; Tk. 3200 should be ample. Bargaining is extremely important when you are dealing with those shrewd shopkeepers. Last but not least, do buy a lock; it should cost between Tk. 100 to Tk. 220.

By M H Haider

On The Cover

With the season's transition underway, it's time to refresh your wardrobe. This time of the year is full of brunch do's and get-togethers. Keep it stylish with Aarong's collection of elegant muslin saris.

Photo Courtesy: Aarong


Stepping forward

So that was it. All three hundred and sixty five days gone in what seems like a blink of an eye. It's the period of time when we tend to ponder over the year that was- taking a quick snap at the past year to wrap things up for the fresh start ahead.

Looking back is like surfing over the waves of time- sometimes the ride is jaunty, sometime faltering. The calendar of one's life is marked with different shades - some in luminous lime while others in darker shades of grey. As the saying goes, one should always build on yesterday's success and learn from failure.

The remains of the past not only present debris to walk over but also make way for a new path. Sitting back and doing calculations over the year that was presents us with homogeneous feeling. There are different events that label a year in one's life; some that can be rejoiced over time, some that sticks in the throat with a sense of regret. Lamenting over the errors never puts forth a solution, learning to rectify the errors do.

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get”- so instead of contemplating hard about the future and cross checking the probabilities that are likely to occur, just pick a chocolate and relish it with ecstatic fervor. Looking back is not merely counting the facts that took place, it's how we deal with it and move forward.

So, it's time, once again. Let us not brood over the past, but cross out our old resolutions and make a new list garnished with jests and colours!

By Zannatul Lamea



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