Just recently during my solo travelling I came across a book, called “What is special about the Kindergarten in Auroville?” by Heidi Watts. And due to my current occupation and aninterest in pre-school education and child development, I found it catchy and felt curious. Sooo, here we go or reflection № 2 about Auroville kindergarten.
But first, you might ask yourself “what is Auroville and what is special about it, if it has its own named after kindergarten?” So just let me introduce what is the place itself. If you google it, you could find that “Auroville (City of Dawn)* is an experimental township mostly in the state of Tamil Nadu, India with some parts in the Union Territory of Pondicherry in South India”. Quite unsual sentence with many names of geographical places, isn’t it?! It’s unique place, under the protection of UNESCO, which main vision is “to realize human unity”. Place, where “all nations, religions, politics and creeds are cleared”; “people live in peace and progressive harmony”.
Let’s back to main topic about Auroville kindergarten, I suppose you might feel curious now. Heidi Watts, being a visitor in that place highlights peculiarities of Auroville kindergarten and makes a comparative study on Montessori, Waldorf, Progressive schools and Auroville itself.
Talking about Auroville, there are few principles created by founder of Auroville, The Mother**, and resonated in kindergarten:
“Nothing can be taught”
“Work from near to the far”
“Mind must be consulted in its own growth.”
The idea that human being should be a man of varied attainments is quite close to me. And this kindergarten’s curriculum is based on five domains developed by founder: physical, mental, vital, psychic and spiritual. All classes are interrelated to support these domains, whereas children learn by doing.
Among special activities I liked Mud House and Quiet Room the most. In Mud house, children of older age are supposed to build one big hut by themselves and work as a team, whereas in Quiet Room, children are welcomed to come two by two for 45 minutes and play with whatever they want, while others have regular classess. The last one helps children explore and express themselves without pressure of the group.
“To love to learn is the most precious gift that one can make to a child: to love to learn always and everywhere” states the founder.
Furthermore, Heidi Watts points out about developmental stage theory, where “children are not thought or treated like little adults. Childhood is recognized as a stage in human development with special qualities all its own.” Every child knows about the world as he/she sees it and the things may be different from what they see, but they will come to it later. And the message to you is “don’t force your child to learn the right answer, because he/she doesn’t have enough experience”