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

 

Conclusion

The kindergarten is not perfect, of course.
In our discussions we found areas where the teachers would like to make small changes, or areas they want to explore further, and, as we all know, it takes a lot of hard running just to stay in place. There is no reason for complacency; a balance implies that there may always be imbalance tomorrow, or at any minute. Balance takes concentration on the goal, continuous self-reflection, and subtle adjustments of tension simply to remain as one is.

I have seen a videotape of some of the work of Joan and Aloka with the children. In these scenes the children move with amazing concentration and balance up a ladder and down a ladder, balancing a tin plate on the point of a pencil. They move gracefully and with total concentration. They move together. Sometimes one child transfers the balancing plate to another without dropping it or losing the posture, sometimes not.

As I watched the videotape I thought of the kindergarten balance. It is true that not all children are well-centred all the time. It is true that sometimes the parts do not weave perfectly into each other. Nonetheless the coming together excites our admiration. I have had that feeling about the kindergarten.
The kindergarten is not perfect, but it is a very special place.
Without detracting from the specialness of the kindergarten I should also say that kindergartens in general are easier to manage for several reasons. Children at this age are extremely open and plastic, hungry for learning; they have not yet had aversive school experiences to “turn them off”; parents and the larger society have fewer external expectations. We do not expect kindergarten children to pass examinations, and although the pressure to prepare for some higher form of schooling exists it is not strident. There is more unanimity among parents and the community about what a kindergarten should provide than at any other level of education.

However, these observations are not intended to minimize what is happening with these young children. They may be learning faster than they will ever learn again. Daily their vocabulary expands, and not just in one language but in two or three. Every day they are learning and practicing social skills, and, like the mind, the young bodies are developing new capacities.
There is a much quoted book in the U.S. entitled, Everything I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, in which the author describes how in kindergarten he learned to listen, to speak, to clean up, to share, to express himself, to ask good questions, to trust and be trusted. Auroville children would know what he means.

References

Dewey, John. (1938) Experience and Education. Macmillan. NY
Finser, Torin. (1994) School as a journey. Anthroposophic Press. NY
Fulgrum, Robert. Everything I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in kindergarten.
Knight, George. (1989) Issues and Alternatives in Educational Philosophy. Andrews University Press. Michigan
Montessori, Maria. (1967) The Discovery of the Child. Ballantine Books. NY
Pratt, Caroline. (1948) 1 Learn from Children. Simon and Shuster. NY
Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. On Education.
Wood, Chip.(1994) Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 2-12. Northeast Foundation for Children. Pittsfield, MA

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

Home  > Education Schools for Auroville > Kindergarten Introduction > Conclusion

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