A focus on integrated learning and a wonderful mother-toddler programme makes Cubby Tales preschool and activity centre well worth a visit.
As soon as I entered Cubby Tales preschool in Koramangala and saw their outdoor play area, I forgot that I had come to write an article on them and immediately wanted to sign my daughter up for all the activities there. As someone who is invited to a dozen schools every month, very few spaces take over me completely to the point of convincing me that my daughter will like the place. After all, she is a child who has a huge imagination and very particular tastes.
One of the things I fell in love with at Cubby Tales was their old-school philosophy to parenting and learning. Says Tanvi Drolia, Director and Founder of Cubby Tales, “We have a very clear vision. We want happy children. We want them to explore the world around them and to enjoy their surroundings. We also want to expose them to natural sources and to give them no access to gadgets or technology. We believe in rolling them in the mud and immersing them in nature. In fact, every property of ours compulsorily has a large outdoor space. Children enjoy the mud, the grass and the sunlight.”
Located in various centres across Bangalore, Cubby Tales is a kindergarten, day care and an activity centre for infants as young as 6 months and for children all the way up to 8.
Focus on outdoors and a no-gadget environment
Cubby Tales is a beautifully planned space. The floral wallpapers, the murals, the carefully designed work and play areas, the nursery for infants, the play area for infants on the terrace, all blend together to create an atmosphere of beauty, freedom and safety. There are little reading or napping nooks on every floor. Children’s learning spaces are arranged in such a way as to facilitate easy movement between groups. The nursery for the infants and toddlers is beautiful and thoughtfully planned, spilling into an outdoor area that is child-proofed, where babies are taken after naps. These spaces are designed to stimulate children and build important sensory experiences in them.
And what can one say about the outdoor space? A pretty little bridge curves over a pond lined with flowers and trees. There are colourful swings made of cotton and a beautiful tree house that is the toast of the centre, which the children love with all their hearts. Some teachers take the children to the treehouse to take a lesson, a meaningful way to make the concepts stick!
The outdoor space also has a picnic area and even large candy kitchen! Children are encouraged to walk barefoot, play in the sand, roll in the mud and spend more time outdoors. This predominance of outdoor space and activity is something that Cubby Tales insists on, so much so that all the other centres, at Hebbal, Whitefield and the recently inaugurated JP Nagar, have a significant outdoor area so that children can run, play and move around as much as possible.
The idea of getting children to enjoy the outdoors is such a crucial one. Richard Louv coined the term “nature deficit disorder,” attributing a whole range of emotional and behavioural problems to children spending less time outdoors and living in a box. Tanvi agrees. “Families are getting smaller, green space is reducing, there is a rapid vertical transformation of living spaces and children badly need a breather.”
A novel approach to learning
The Cubby Tales team, Tanvi asserts, works like a family. Teachers are given the utmost freedom to explore learning with the children. Being a self-managed educational space, Cubby Tales is focused on building an enriching learning environment for its children.
The integrated learning program at Cubby Tales combines both indoor and outdoor learning experiences. Children are exposed to a huge variety of activities, all connected with themes. I love the fact that even children enrolled in the day care are part of the integrated learning program and are engaged in various activities. The curriculum allows the children enough room to explore and do what interests them.
The integrated learning program at Cubby Tales combines both indoor and outdoor learning experiences. Children are exposed to a huge variety of activities, all connected with themes.
Cubby Tales expose children to traditional Indian games, which pack in lots of physical activity, running around, interaction, resourcefulness, quick thinking, group work, co-ordination and ingenuity. Children play kho kho, rumal chor, kith kith, candy floss, pinwheel, paper boats, Chinese twisters, marbles, hopscotch and more. The traditional games are so popular that the upcoming summer camps will also feature them in a big way!
It’s a great summer at Cubby Tales
This year, the Cubby Tales summer camp will combine indoor and outdoor activities, with each day devoted to a specific theme. One day would be a green day, where children would be introduced to the environment and eco-friendly practices like planting a tree in a plastic bottle, recycling and reusing. Another day will be an ‘experience’ day when children, for instance, will spend a day learning about the life of a farmer, for instance, and how plants are sown, cultivated and marketed. There will be ‘Space and Science Day,’ ‘Know Your Country Day’ and much more, each theme pluralized to suit different age groups. Art, language development, music, physical activity and more will all be fitted into the camp thematically and no activity will be repeated, even though the camp will follow a sequence of events.
A fun and fulfilling mother-toddler program
One of the highlights of Cubby Tales is their wonderful ‘Mom and Me’ program for mothers and toddlers. Planned with a great deal of care and knowledge, ‘Mom and Me’ is a unique learning and developmental program for infants and toddlers that will get mothers and toddlers to bond and to also introduce mothers to the many social, cognitive, physical and emotional benchmarks that their child will go through when growing up. The program will have music, movement, learning, fun activities to develop gross and fine motor skills, and more. In fact, there is a mother-toddler summer camp this year too, one of the very few such camps in the city! Take a look at photos from past sessions by visiting their Facebook page!
One of the highlights of Cubby Tales is their wonderful ‘Mom and Me,’ a unique learning and developmental program for mothers and their little ones. There is a mother-toddler summer camp this year too, one of the very few such camps in the city!
When each child enrols in the centre, he or she plants a plant in a plastic bottle, a wonderful way of imprinting on the space that they will call their second home, where learning experiences will shape their many years to come. “We want the children to have a happy childhood,” says Tanvi.
“That’s our goal, pure and simple.”