Nandanam is a crèche plus kindergarten located in Centre Field for up to 60 children between 2.5 to 7 years of age. Nandanam, which means ‘garden' in Sanskrit, is Auroville's second kindergarten started in 2003.
We begin with the understanding that the “first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught” and that “the teacher is not an instructor or a task master but a helper and a guide.” Keeping this in mind we work towards the integral development of the children focusing on their physical, mental, vital and psychic development, following the guidelines given by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
We work a lot through projects since we feel that it is a very effective and holistic tool, starting with topics that are close to the children and widening the horizon each time.
We essentially and strongly feel that the children should have the freedom to explore the world within and around them and to grow at their own pace and in their own way, trying always to come in contact with their psychic being and being guided by it. We have at the same time realized that to prepare them for this sometimes a guiding hand and even a planned and structured activity can help. So, we try to balance between these two ways of working as we also try to balance between group activities – where they learn to coordinate with their friends and develop social qualities – and individual activities where they have the freedom to do things in their own way.
In order to do this, we have both classroom-based activities and centre-based activities. Sometimes the children work with their own age group in their classrooms and part of the time they work with mixed age group in activity centres/corners.
We have a craft centre, drama centre, block centre, science centre, cooking and gardening centre, quiet room, reading corner, games corner.
We believe that once a child has acquired a thirst for knowledge and a need for self-perfection he can take charge of his education himself and the teacher can just be a guiding presence when required. We humbly aspire to do this to the best of our capacity.