While being a Chartered Accountant by profession, Mr. Firdaus Lalkaka is an educationist at heart. After earning his stripes in financial services, he has been actively involved since 2001, in the management and administration of Thumbelina Nursery & K.G. School, an Ahmedabad-based Preschool which was established in the year 1974 by his mother Mrs. Perin Lalkaka. While being conferred with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Eklavya Education Foundation in 2009 certainly reaffirms the merit of the hard work put in by his mother Perin Lalkaka in the field of Preschool education, it also validates the efforts of Thumbelina’s dedicated team of educators. It is quite humbling to see children being dropped off at Thumbelina today, by their grandparents who themselves did their pre-schooling at Thumbelina!
Born in a “teaching” environment coupled with his close association with Thumbelina since its inception, has enabled him to gain a fair insight and understanding of Preschool education. Backed by his fondness and love for children (who do not have a voice of their own) and his natural interest in Early Years Education coupled with his ability to understand law, he aspires to bring about a positive change in ECCE in India by raising critical issues on government policy in the fond hope of reducing the drop-out rate, improving the learning outcomes and transforming the school-going experience for children into a more fulfilling, fun-filled and happy one.
To ignite the spark of learning and ensure all-round development, it is a constant endeavour at Thumbelina to provide children with an environment that is fun-filled, supports free expression, inculcates values, offers positive reinforcement, offers hands-on experiences, is safe & secure, stress-free, loving and hygienic.
Mr. Firdaus strongly believes that, rather than treating ECCE as a State subject, the interest of children would be better served if the Government of India introduces a One-Nation-One-Policy framework with standardized norms and policies pertaining to age-at-entry, curriculum, infrastructure, Child-Safety etc.. It is imperative for all stakeholders to come together to design an age-appropriate curriculum that is aligned with the learning milestones. This would go a long way in not reducing Preschools to being nothing more than mere downward extensions of the formal and structured education at the level of Class-1 and above where children are forced to grasp concepts ahead of their time but also in tempering the abnormally high expectations of parents.
- Administrator, Thumbelina Nursery & K.G. School