Think Beyond The Books

Expert Meeting with Mr. Manivannan Ganapathy, Waldorf Educator

Kingdom of Childhood
This all started with the intention of understanding the curative therapy aspect of Waldorf education. Mr. Manivannan Ganapathy, trustee at the Bangalore Steiner school, is a full time teacher and also Teacher trainer at Kingdom of Childhood. He is a graduate not only in English and Sanskrit literature but has also completed various Waldorf trainings in India, Germany and Switzerland.

The idea of meeting him came to our minds and I immediately sent a detailed message to him requesting a face to face appointment in Bangalore and he graciously said Yes! We planned to meet at 5 pm at his textile shop in JP Nagar.

I entered his shop and at cash counter I met a pleasant faced, young teenage boy, Amar (Mr.Manivannan’s son) and he welcomed me. He immediately contacted his dad through telephone and informed him that I had arrived.  He seemed to be studying and was poring over some notes.  I casually chatted with him and asked what he was reading and enquired about which school he was attending? To my utter surprise, he mentioned that he was home schooling with an awesome teacher that was none other than his Dad. What a cool idea Sir ji :-)!!

Mr. Manivannan, came riding on his bike welcomed me with a smile on his face. It did not seem like we were strangers at a first meeting. There was a certain warmth and kindness exuding in the space.

Manivannan and Karthick Jayaram

Manivannan and Karthick Jayaram

He talked at length about the Curative therapy and it’s spiritual connection. He gave me a lot of ideas to implement and taught me how to make it a success in Trichy in long term. Our talk touched upon areas such as – Waldorf, Indian culture and it’s meaning, Parents’ discussions and meeting, Handling home situations, Classroom management, Importance of the curriculum, Harmony, Circle time, Music recorder (Waldorf  classical Flute).

Then, I saw Amar bringing our fruit juice for us.  I encouraged him to share his views about his future aspirations and he mentioned that he wanted to be either a Farmer or Actor. I have met several youngsters and asked them such questions. But, I have never ever heard any teenage boy saying this! Also he told me that he spends his free time playing Table Tennis, Cricket and he is Champion other forms of sport too. He also plays instrumental  music. I was certainly wowed. I was convinced that the confidence he showed stemmed from his Waldorf  education. Mr. Manivannan had not only taught  the Waldorf education model to others but had really adopted it in his own life with shining results.

I certainly believe that Ingress can also build and seed such confidence in every child.

I thanked Mr. Manivannan for his time and finally I invited Mr. Manivannan to visit to Ingress as and when it was convenient for him. He has agreed to visit say in between April-May 2015. I truly think his visit will pave way for the needy parents in Trichy who want to have a holistic education for their kids. He will certainly help further everyone’s understanding of Waldorf education.

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Ingress: Exploring the future

Girl

Gone are the days where kids cried for going to school. The conventional approach of teaching, involved the relationship between a kid and teacher as a lion and the ring master. Upon my experience, I thought these energetic kids should undergo the education in a friendly nurturing and loving manner.

Here is an environment where kids will consider the school as their home (a home away from their home). The mode of teaching is carved, to adapt the kids mind to be engaged in active mode and not saturated as in the conventional method of teaching.

Present days, most of us are in nuclear families, with employed mother having very little time for our young buddies and therefore the kids spend most of their time in school and their enrichment classes.

It’s perfectly natural to be anxious about sending your child to preschool for the first time. It is a critical transition period from home to school for the child as it will take time for him/her to settle in.

I personally believe that if a child feels that school is an enjoyable place where he can learn and experience something new each day, this feeling will stay with him/her even as he grows older.

At this age child needs love and lot of hugs. So ensure that your child enters a warm and welcoming atmosphere which has friendly teachers who are cheerful, loving and caring for the child and makes your child to settle in easily.

The teacher should play the role of a guide, facilitator and a mentor. They need to acknowledge that today’s children could know much more than they do. “I am the teacher and elder, so I am right” is no longer valid.

As a mentor and a facilitator the teacher should first listen, without judging if the child is right or wrong. Children see the teacher’s role as very important in decision making process. Now it is the foremost duty of a parent to ensure that their child is in a safe and a comfortable environment.

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Why ingress?

We at Ingress, aim to cherish the spirit of consciousness in the child by a way of alternate teaching and practical knowledge. We believe in a kind of education that nurture values and spirit of inquiry to explore the world around. We provide space for children to think, express, explore, exhibit their skills and empower them. Importance will be given for hands on training to stimulate their creative potential in them. Our system of education stresses on passion and generosity.

We instill the joy of learning, which would set the tone for the rest of their lives. When a child is comfortable he/she will be able to interact with the society. We ensure that the child feels comfortable and at the same time we strike a balance by maintaining the discipline of the school.

We encourage the social and emotional development of a child which initiates the skills of interaction, sharing, independence and decision making amidst them. We focus the development of basic language and cognitive skills. The child’s pre-math and pre- literacy skills are also given a boost, giving him a strong base for learning in kindergarten .We assure that at Ingress Junior School, we provide a safe and healthy environment for your kids and you can enjoy watching your cocoons transit into colorful butterflies.

 

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Unravelling the mystery of Children Learning Process!!!!

How Children Learn

Children are playful by nature. Their earliest exploring experiences to satisfy their natural sensory urges automatically leads them to play, first by themselves and eventually with others. When they play with joy and learn in the process, then it is a pleasant experience. They develop a positive approach to learning.

I have observed sadly that most of my friends breathe down their young child’s neck to make him/her study hard and harder. They think it is the parent’s duty to do so. I disagree.

Here are my thoughts: 

It is very important to understand how your child likes to learn best. I recommend you spend some time analysing and identifying the child’s dominant senses.

Do they like pictures and reading? If so, you can encourage your child to use drawings, pictures, maps or diagrams as part of their learning. Some children like listening to explanations and reading aloud. You could use stories to encourage this kind of child. And most children enjoy learning through songs, chants and rhymes.

Does your child like to touch things and physically move about? Some children have lots of energy! You could play games to get them moving or running around, acting out rhymes or stories or even dancing!

Quieter children may have a good vocabulary and be good readers. Word games, crosswords, word searches, anagrams and tongue twisters would be good to encourage these children.

Other children require logical, clear explanations of rules and patterns, or like to work out the rules for themselves. They may be good at maths too. For these children, activities such as puzzles, problem-solving, ordering or categorising provide ideal opportunities for learning.

All children are intelligent, only differently so. While some children are visual learners and some are auditory learners. It is important to understand that auditory intelligent kids get more stimulated when they listen to music…

Some children are outgoing and sociable and can learn a language quickly because they want to communicate. They are not worried about making mistakes. Other children are quieter and more reflective. They learn by listening and observing what is happening. They don’t like to make mistakes and will wait until they are sure.

If your child is outgoing they may prefer learning in groups with other children, whereas a quieter child may need more private, quiet time to feel more secure about learning a language. A bedtime story in English could be an opportunity to provide this quiet time.

It’s important that learning is fun for children in the early stages of life. It needs to be about doing things with them that they like. They might find unusual ways of doing things – for a toddler, building blocks aren’t just for making towers, and paint can be used without a brush! Show them how things work, but if they want to experiment, let them.

Please do not complain that, “My son is not ‘like me” The ways to stimulate his brain to ‘learn’ could be way different from the way you learn.  Some are logically intelligent and may become like Ramanujam where as a visual learner could become an artiste.  Society has a need for all kinds of people who are good at different things.

Don’t push your child too hard. Children develop in their own ways and in their own time. Try not to compare them to other children. You can also encourage reading, by reading to and with them. Look at the pictures together. This will help younger children make sense of the words.

It is also good to talk to them a lot, about everyday things when cooking or cleaning. This will give you a chance to teach them how things work and they will be able to ask you questions. Get ready for lots of “why’s?”

Children with natural intelligence learn better, perhaps with their simple play in the kitchen, or by accompanying you on a super exciting trip to the shop to buy vegetables or while looking stars from the balcony.  Teaching moments and learning moments are every where.  Using these moments correctly makes learning easy and fun!

Reference: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/parents

Image Courtesy: Willow Tree Learning

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Ingress School: Let’s complete the circle

Ingress Junior School Outdoor
Gurukul System

Image Courtesy: brainbuxa.com

Life has come full circle, I feel. There were times in the past when formal education did not exist in India. Our Vedas and Puranas talk about how the highest thoughts were perceived thru’ methods of silent contemplation and self realization by our wise Rishis and then advocated by Gurus to their group of disciples using mostly an oral tradition. When the students were young, they gathered around in a Gurukul and focused on learning by rote and pleasing the Guru and when they grew up and their maturity improved, they were able to grasp the true meaning of the teaching and chew on the knowledge and led their remaining lives according to their ability and understanding of the higher truth.

In the middle ages, education and skill development was recognized as a primary means of earning a livelihood. The agrarian way of life changed with the advent of the British Industrial revolution and a strong desire for economic progress propelled every household to strive for the ‘doctor’ or ‘engineer’ or ‘lawyer’ dream. And of course, in due course of time, the desire of most families seem to have been met and socio economic progress has come about. The comfortable luxury lifestyle has soon become an accepted natural norm for our middle class families. There is a lot more time for thinking today because of efficiency in day to day life. And man being man, wants even more progress.

And with this, the goals of our families have changed again. The drive for ‘progress’ has changed its course. No longer is the end goal ‘doctor’ or ‘engineer’ or ‘lawyer’ but the MEANS of achieving the goal take paramount importance.

Many in our generation do feel bad about forced career choices. Gen X parents rightly ask –

Is my child happy every day?

I went through a lot of trouble and put in a hard work so that my children can be happy. I don’t want them to take my path and suffer.

I wanted to study History and Art. My dad forced me to do Math.

I hate my software job. I took it just to earn the money. The money is good but I feel empty inside.

When the parents of today attempt to shield their kids from their own bitter experiences and when money is no longer a driving force, they look for something more. In a school, they are looking for a means for discovering their child’s true potential for self actualization. The school’s role has changed to being the means of finding and leading children on a path that feels natural and connected to their own conscience. Education is important because it sharpens the mind. It is a means to an end and end goal is not merely a ‘degree’.

The ability to recognize what one is good at and what it takes to achieve happiness while at the same time contributing effectively to today’s modern society is defined as success.

Each one of us has a purpose and a talent and we are brought into this world to deliver on our own individual potential. If we each seek to find what we are good at and do just that, not only will it be a fun activity for the doer, but the resulting work will add so much joy to the world. Ingress School is one such ‘discovery’ place. And all of us here are striving to make this happen for our children of the latest generation to lead us into a better happier world tomorrow. Let’s complete the circle.

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