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Introduction  |   Chapter 1   |   Chapter 2  |   Chapter 3  |   Conclusion


A comparative study of childhood education
in Montessori, Waldorf, Progressive Schools and Auroville

by Heidi Watts, Ph.D., Director, Education, Antioch University

From a brochure published by SAIIER in May 2000

 

 

Everyone has in him something divine, something his own, a chance of perfection and strength in however small a sphere which God offers him to take or refuse. The chief aim of education should be to help the growing soul to draw out that in itself which is best and make it perfect for a noble use.

Sri Aurobindo

 

Introduction

A friend in Auroville said to me recently, “What’s the kindergarten like?”, and I said, “It’s a very special place.” “Really?”, she said. “Why? What happens there?” This essay is an attempt to answer her questions, and similar questions which my friends and acquaintances in and out of Auroville have asked from time to time.

I met with the staff of the Auroville Kindergarten in December 1996, and we asked ourselves some related questions. What is special and what is unique about the kindergarten in Auroville? How is it like other kindergartens and how is it different? What is developmentally appropriate for children at this age?
Is the kindergarten programme consistent with what is

known about the developing needs of young children? Does it have a coherent philosophy?

To provide a background to the discussion at our first meeting I reviewed three compatible approaches to kindergarten instruction: Montessori, Waldorf and the Progressive movement. At our second meeting we reviewed developmental patterns of growth based on a book by Chip Wood called Yardsticks. In this essay
I want to recapitulate our conversations and describe my impressions, as an outsider, about what is special in this kindergarten. But first I want to respond to my friend’s second question: What happens there? My hope is that by describing a day in the kindergarten you can visualize the people, the space and the atmosphere as you read on.

 

Watch "Nandanam kindergarten 2009" video

Introduction  |   Chapter 1   |   Chapter 2  |   Chapter 3  |   Conclusion

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