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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Interaction with Dr. Rajesh Kannan, Fiji Islands.

Dr.Rajesh

Dr. Rajesh Kannan is a Senior Faculty Member, School of Engineering & Physics, University of South Pacific, Fiji. He is a Waldorf Parent, who sent his kid (Baby Riya Kannan) to a Waldorf Kindergarten in Suva, Fiji. Presently, Riya is back in India and integrated into a matriculation school near Madurai.

When we discussed the philosophy and methodology of Ingress Junior School with Dr. Rajesh, he was pleasantly surprised and excited that there is a Waldorf inspired school in Trichy!!

The Ingress team invited him for an interaction with our teachers primarily to share his experience as a Waldorf parent in Fiji, to which he happily and readily agreed.

His talk focused on the interesting chemistry in between teacher-kid relationships.  As an advanced level educator himself, it was heartening when he mentioned that the experience as Waldorf parent is most enriching and happiest.

He told us that Baby Riya was always a happy kid since her early years and is still  very strongly bonded with her teachers. The day generally started off with lots of play involved and the teacher was highly hands on in the kindergarten. Understanding basic needs, giving back love, hugs, care and keen attention to students interests were mentioned as the primary reason why Riya bonded well with her school teachers.

Our teachers evinced keen interested in Dr. Rajesh’s talk and desired deeper interaction and they asked appropriate leading questions to understand the details of everyday class well. He patiently explained and shared his experiences with a lot of real world examples primarily based on his own kid. It was a unique experience for our Ingress team to hear from an experienced Waldorf parent.

He also wished success for IJS on our journey as a Waldorf inspired School @ Trichy.

Thanks a lot Dr. A. Rajesh Kannan for wishing & motivating us. We now understand the letter and spirit of your Waldorf experience better and will strive to give the children @ Ingress our very best.

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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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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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