When Pankaj Kapoor noticed that his grade 4 son Abhishek enjoyed watching nature programs on Animal Planet and National Geographic, he started to do everything possible to encourage his passion. Parents Pankaj and Neelam have created a home that encourages learning-there are books and other educational material in the home. They all love reading and believe parents play a very important role in educating the child. It isn’t just the quality of a school but the quality of parenting.
Here is a poem written he wrote which shows the depth of his passion for environmental matters.
A wise tree
There once was a wise old tree
Who lived his life in glee
He drank tea every day
“Listen to a tree” he would always say
One should listen to trees as they take advice from bees
Bees have a loving and caring heart
And they make honey which makes us healthy and smart
Trees are full of life and are radiant
Grow more trees as they help the environment
The trees have a great advice
Mother Nature is our treasure so be nice.
Can-India caught up with the parents to talk about their parenting style
What do you both do professionally?
Pankaj: I am a registered social worker in child welfare sector and employed by Guelph Children’s Aid.
Neelam: I run preschool programs for the City of Brampton and also work as their program ambassador.
How important is it for parents to interact and encourage kids to develop creative thinking?
As children develop from infants to teens to adults they go through a series of developmental stages that are important to all aspects of their personhood including physical, intellectual, emotional and social. The proper role of the parent is to provide encouragement, support and access to activities that enable the child to master key developmental tasks. A parent is their child’s first teacher and should remain their best teacher throughout life.
Acceptance of the child’s interests with positive responses helps the child develop coping mechanism to deal with stress.
When did you realize your son liked nature and the environment?
Neelam: As a toddler Abhishek was drawn to nature books and would participate in gardening, bird feeding etc. As he grew older, he liked going to parks, walks along the lake and interact with animals. Abhishek collect stones and feathers. He likes taking care of plants in summer and has Aloe Verra, bamboo stems and cactus in his room. Abhishek helps me every summer to plant tulips and other flowers along with vegetables in our backyard. Abhishek often talks about working as a zoologist, a veterinarian or a family doctor.
What are you doing as parents to encourage his inquisitive mind?
Neelam: As a mother I quit my job when I had Abhishek. I introduced him to Ontario early years and pre-school at the age of 1. I used to read to him every day and helped him with his writing. I would take him to library on a weekly basis as well. I have taught him Hindu prayers and traditions. As a family, we visit temple every Tuesday.
Pankaj: I have supported him with his ideas. We have done research together as he was growing up and now I encourage him to find additional information on various subjects using books, internet and TV. I try not to provide him with answers to his questions, but encourage him to reflect on his questions by asking him counter questions. This way Abhishek is able to develop reasoning skills and thinking ability. I have further supported him by providing him access to internet, laptop and a tablet. Abhishek looks up to his grandfather, Dr. Satish Kapoor, who did his PhD from England and recently retired as Registrar for DAV University in Jalandhar Punjab.
Describe your son’s personality.
Neelam: Abhishek is calm, sensitive, honest and caring. He is a good listener. He is open minded and loves to talk about various topics including dogs, food, Bollywood, nature, plants, Lego. He loves eating food. He likes Indian, Greek and Chinese dishes. He is fond of his grandmother cooking. He likes to spend time with his 7 year-old brother, Abhinav.
What are his interests in school?
Pankaj: He’s a grade 4 student at Somerset Drive Public School in Brampton. Abhishek likes to be an MC at school, and is a member of ECO Team at school which promotes healthy environment and organizes contests at school. He participates in presentations on various topics on science and nature to his class. He plays flute at school and was part of Bhangra team which performed at Somerset talent show. Abhishek is also a bus monitor.
Does he have many friends?
Neelam: Abhishek has many friends because he is mature to understand various cultures and respects their values and traditions. His friends are very multicultural and he often plans play day with them. As a mother I support him and encourage him to invite his friends to our house for lunches and group study.
You have exposed him to nature and other subjects.
Yes, Abhishek has been exposed to a variety of subjects since he was a year-and-a half. He was learning French at 2. Abhishek did Canoeing/Kayaking, fishing and piano last summer. He is enrolled in swimming, skating and chess. Abhishek plans to continue Canoeing/Kayaking and join Archery this summer as well. As a family we do camping and road trips so that kids can interact with nature and enjoy the scenic beauty of Canada. – CINEWS