(Article written by Katherina and Nina, two volunteers from Germany and Switzerland having worked on a service-learning with the Kindergarten in Dec/Jan 2004/05)
“We dream that our children in the village will have equal educational opportunities and rights like the children from foreign countries so that we can really build a new life together with Auroville.” ( members of the youth club, Sanjeevinagar )
Out of this vision the kindergarten in Mohanam came into life in February 2004.
There was a lot of energy and time invested in this new activity and the result is really wonderful. The attempt was to strengthen the bridge between Auroville and the Indian village.through an additional educational outreach .
Every morning 30 children in the age of 3 to 4 arrive to spend their day in the original ambient and surroundings of the house and gardens of the Mohanam Center. The project offers them lots of opportunities to be creative and learn in a joyful way through handicrafts, dancing, singing, painting, clayworks and sports.
The new weeks starts with a whole morning in Thoppu Veedu, a coconut garden on the outskirts of the village, where the children can enjoy and learn with nature, play outdoor games, and work on small projects to get to know the birds, insects and plants of the area. A strong emphasis is layed on a creative and child-centered approach, taking the experience of modern child psychology and new pedagogical methods, and continuing to stay in touch with the best of the traditional ways of loving care inner guidance, is what makes the difference in the Mohanan kindergarden in contrast to the government pre-school places that are available. The aspiration is to give the children a firm base to be able to develop the necessary faculties for an independent and progress-oriented life.
There is a young team who is making this project possible through their untiring engagement and who are helping to manifest this new learning environment, making into a special place within the village community. Being persistent in their will to make it really happen they put lots of energy and love into their work. They got great support from a graduate of the Sophien College, Mumbai who offered an encompassing one month training in all aspects of the challenging work.
There is Kavitha, who comes originally from Tanjavur. After studying Sociology she came to join the Mohanam team two years ago to take up the work with the children. She is a great folkdancer and singer and embodies a motherly role for the children. Due to her educational background she infuses lots of specific knowledge and innovative ideas into the selected learning projects.
Selvi is the other woman who looks after the children, is 22 years and still lives together with her family nearby. With her classical dance education she contributes a certain freshness and classical touch to the whole project.
Both try to bring the children in contact with the traditional Tamil Culture and its values in their own unique ways. Through the influence of the dance the children reach a deeper body-awareness which supports their personal development.
The balancing force to the female influence is Elumalai, who is 28 years old and comes from the neighbouring village. Through his tall stature and protective caring nature he conveys to the children a feeling of safety.
The team as a whole creates a well balanced relation and environment for the children.
This Kindergarten-project which is in its first year and provides for the crèche now shows what is achieveable with the courage and engagement of young people, and tells the story of how visions and dreams which are needed in this world can come true and deserve our support.
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