Aha! Kindergarten for children of 2.5 to 7 years age
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
The secret meaning of an “Aha!” moment
We’ve all had them, although we may not have known that’s what they’re called. It’s a pristine moment of clarity that makes us stop whatever we’re doing and say “I get it. I really get it!” We’re fascinated with these moments, whether they happen to us or to someone else.
What is the foundation of an Aha! moment? What makes them different from an ordinary moment of understanding? The difference is in the quality of our thoughts and our sense of self in the moment we receive the wisdom.
A – Authenticity. An Aha! moment happens when you tap into your genuine self. This is your deep self who rests beneath the outer layers of personality and ego. Your authentic self is the heart of Who You Really Are. When you connect with your true self, the wisdom you receive is untainted by the surface worries and thoughts of everyday life, what some call the “monkey mind”. It is the voice of your purest wisdom and when it speaks you cannot help but listen.
H – Humility. These moments are filled with the humility of recognizing the smallness of your understanding and the immensity of the greater Intelligence that surrounds us. It is that age-old paradox of knowing that you really don’t know anything at all. Even in our most insightful moments, we only touch the surface of a very deep pond. Kumu Etua Lopez often tells his students, “You look into the pond and see only yourself. You don’t know how deep the water is.” When you have the humility to let go of how much you know, the Aha! moment lets you glimpse deeper forces, a greater Intelligence and mysterious order that exists beyond us.
A – Awareness. An Aha! moment comes when your awareness, your attention and your presence is in the Now. Without you giving your awareness, the moment passes you by. When your Conscious Mind acknowledges a new learning, it creates immediate integration with the deep level of understanding in the Unconscious Mind and essentially reprograms your beliefs in an instant. Your conscious awareness allows the shift to occur. Ekhart Tolle in his book, The Power of Now, shows us the power of living in the present moment. Your awareness empowers the moment and sets the roots of the learning deep into Who You Really Are.
Aha! moments become more frequent as we nurture authenticity, humility and awareness in our lives. These characteristics build a foundation of integrity that supports a life of eager anticipation for the next new experience and the next new learning. With each Aha! moment, you become more attuned to your purpose, your wisdom, and your connection in the matrix of life.
When knowledge is fresh in us, then it is invincible; when it is old, it loses its virtue. This is because God moves always forward – Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo is speaking here of knowledge through inspiration or revelation. In other words, when something suddenly descends and illuminates your understanding: all of a sudden, you feel you know a certain thing for the very first time, because it comes to you directly from the domain of Light, the domain of true knowledge, and it comes with all its innate force of truth – it illuminates you. And indeed, when you’ve just received it, it seems as though nothing could resist that Light. And if you make sure to let it work in you, it brings about as much transformation as it can in its own domain.
It is the higher Knowledge, Truth expressing itself, what he calls “the true knowledge”; and that knowledge transforms the whole creation. But He seems to let it rain down constantly, you see, and if you don’t hurry up (laughing), you get left behind!
But have you never felt a sort of dazzling flash in your head? And then: “Aha! That’s it!” Sometimes it’s something that was known intellectually, but it was drab and lifeless; and then all at once it comes as a tremendous power, organizing everything in the consciousness around that Light – it doesn’t last very long. Sometimes it lasts a few hours, sometimes a few days, but never longer, unless one is very slow in one’s movement. And meanwhile, you know (laughing), the Source of Truth is moving on and on and on….
In MOTHER’S AGENDA, 6 October 1962
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