In our country, children usually commence their formal education on completing 6 years of age when they are admitted to class one of primary schools. A child usually lives with parents and other members of family until then. In earlier times when the family system was well organized in India, the child grew in the amiable environment provided by the family and received all appropriate Samskars in the family itself. The mother of the child was also its first teacher. In modern times, however, industrial and growing influence of western civilization has affected the family system also, particularly in the cities. Now-a-days it has become necessary to send a child to the school at an early age of 2.6 years. The number of schools for this age group, known variously as montessary, kindergarten or Nursery school, has been steadily increasing in the cities. These schools have sprung up in every nook and corner of metropolitan and other big cities, and have become a lucrative source of earning for their organizers.
For an educational point of view, these schools operating under the guise of Montessary or Kindergarten schools are doing great injustice to tender children. Heavy school bags have deprived them of their childhood. Westernization is making rapid inroads in the name of English medium education. Vidya Bharati has taken note of the danger posed to the nation by this development and has focused its attention on pre-primary education also. An indigenous system of pre-primary education based on Bharatiya Sanskriti and our country' environment has been developed and given the name of 'Shishu Vatika' (literally meaning Kindergarten). This is a non-formal system of education aimed at physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual development of the child. The children are free from the burden of books. Notebooks, etc. imposed upon them just for acquiring literacy and numeracy skills. Games, songs, language etiquette skill, drawing, crafts, etc., are developed through non-formal activities. The 'Shishu Vatika' reverberate with children's joyful sounds as they undertake various activities which impart education and sanskar in a natural way.
Vidya Bharati has chalked out a programme to educate the parents and other members of the families of children attending Shishu Vatikas. The family, particularly the mother, plays an important role in the balanced growth of the child. Vidya Bharati's programme includes training to provide an enlightened and cultured family environment to the child. A nationwide campaign under the Shishu Vatika Scheme has been launched to create parent's awareness of their responsibilities in providing a family environment in accordance with Hindu view of life and Samskar's.