Aha! Kindergarten is a school for children from 2.5 to 7 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 develop a conscious inner will to grow and progress.
At Aha! the cornerstone of our activities is the free progress methodology that we follow. What this actually means can take time to understand, since for each individual the meaning of ‘freedom’ and the meaning of ‘progress’ may be different. We endeavour to evolve our understanding and to apply it every day, every moment.
Our aim is to follow insight-based learning approaches, tapping into the child’s own deep reserves of understanding. We observe the children and then we plan so that each child gets what they need for their progress. We then see how the children respond. At times they may respond just as we imagined, and at other times they may be very different. Their response becomes part of our observation again.
At this age children are highly innovative and creative. This is to be nurtured consciously. We need to trust them to find their own direction. It is this trust that we have in the children that gives them the confidence to say ‘I CAN’. We also give them the space to keep saying ‘Let Me Try’. This is the foundation that will allow them to do so for rest of their lives.
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.
Adults may facilitate this process but do no more. Children progress according to their own pace and capacity. Learning may be adult facilitated, but it must be self-directed by the child. We see the facilitator’s role as akin to that of a farmer who, in tending to a planted seed, knows that he can provide the conditions for growth but cannot teach the seed how to grow and what to become.
We aim for a close partnership between facilitators and parents in order to help each child in this process of growth.
Some aspects of the Aha! philosophy:
keeping the learner central
flexibility related to space, attitude and learning styles
guiding the child to understand his/her own being, become a self-reliant individual and to relate to the world around, interact with it, find answers for essential questions
working collectively, finding the balance between individual and the collective in mixed-age groups
learning to make conscious choices and consider mistakes as helpers and guides
taking responsibility for one’s own learning/progress
working on learning milestones without a fixed time-table or fixed syllabus