SAIIER 2016:Aha Kindergarten

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SAIIER office
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Deepanam School
Aha! Kindergarten

Introduction

Aha Kindergarten is a school for children 3-6 years of age, following a self-directed, free-progress philosophy of learning. Inspired by the teachings of Mother and Sri Aurobindo, our objective is to help young children develop conscious inner will to grow and progress. Children naturally possess the curiosity to know and learn. This is to be nurtured consciously. It is by their free will that children have to grow up into self-determining individuals, striving consciously to blossom to full inner potential, not only in respect of academics but physically, emotionally, aesthetically and spiritually as well.

Activities and Outcomes of the year

This year has proved to be a time of challenges and churn for Aha. Through the events of the year, when there was questioning of the communication of the Aha vision and its implementation, we were required to introspect, evaluate and grow. The process, though difficult, has resulted in arriving at many understandings of what Aha stands for and aims to do. The support and involvement of many members of the Aha community has allowed us to find a core of immense value in what we do. Many good outcomes have resulted from this experience.

The formation of an Aha Support Group: A Support Group comprising of Kindergarten teachers, School Board members and parents has been formed to be able to participate in the Aha processes and to lend ideas and expertise wherever necessary. This Support Group will be an ongoing one, and will strength to the Aha working.

The creation of the Aha Vision/Policy documentation: Through a process of dialog with the parents and Support Group members, the Aha vision and policies have been drafted. This process of creation has allowed for a rich exchange of ideas and has brought clarity to the venture.

Documentation to share with new parents: A set of documents that includes the Admission Form, School Board Guidelines, Aha Policies and Vision, Parent Guidelines and Medical Form has been put together to share with prospective parents. This better allows the parents to evaluate and understand the choice of kindergarten for their child, and allows the Kindergarten facilitators to better communicate their vision with the parents.

The decision to have frequent meetings/workshops involving parents: It has been decided that there will be space created for frequent meetings and workshops with parents. These will facilitate dialog, answer any questions or concerns, and allow for more opportunity to create a shared vision.

Year-end get-together and potluck: As we ended the year children, parents, facilitators and Support Group members had the opportunity to meet for a get-together and potluck. This was a time of joyful singing, chanting, conversation and of course, wonderful food. We were also able to invite some prospective parents and children to this event, in order to provide them an additional opportunity to experience the Aha space and spend time with the Aha family.

Reflections

All experiences are indicators of where work needs to be done, both individually and collectively. This year has proved to be particularly useful in reaching those understandings.

Now that these aspects have been recognized, they have to be integrated into the whole being, and then into the spaces, the interactions and the experiences at Aha. While much needs to be done, a strong step in the right direction has been taken with the close support and involvement of the Aha family.

Goals

This year has been about working on internal spaces. As we continue this important work, we would also like to work on the physical spaces.

We would like to create spaces so that the children can pursue their activity without interruption, and at their own pace. This means creating more usable space than is currently available. We would like to develop to completion the existing but as yet incomplete space to make this possible.

We will also require an additional washroom facility, given that we have only one at the moment.

We would like to add one more facilitator to the team, the search for whom is already begun.

Conclusion

Out of great churn comes great learning. We are grateful for the opportunity to explore education in the spirit Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's vision.