Focus of this newsletter is our kinder garden. The teachers, our advisor and I thought together how to improve the quality. We came to the result to take all our energy to get inspired by good examples, to learn new connections and habits and to practice in the daily school life – with the aim to receive a very good child oriented kinder garden. Regularly I come to the school to observe the education in the LKG (Lower kinder garden) and the UKG (Upper kinder garden) and to give ad- vice; our teachers’ workshop in March was also focused on the subject “How to improve the quality in the kinder garden”. The photos show some impressions:
Training of the writing skills with wooden blocks
The children train animals’ voices
Playing with Puzzles
Exercises for the development of the senses
in the kinder garden workshop
Essentials of our kinder garden education:
We start every day with a circle!
We let the children practice a lot of movements!
We work with all the senses!
We use play way methods!
We respect the individuality of every child!
Sheila Swift, multiplicator of the „Education in Human Values“,
donates hand puppets in the kinder garden workshop
In the following lines I want to present some thoughts of Swamy Vivekananda (1863 – 1902) concerning to education. Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi are the two great symbol figures of India. Although Vivekananda is no more on our earth for more than 100 years his words did not lose their actuality.
Vivekananda was born in Calcutta on January 12th 1863. He devoted his life to working for social reforms such as eliminating child marriage and illiteracy and encouraging care of the poor and the sick. Also it was his patriotic zeal and elo- quence which made the Western world aware of India’s great spiritual and cultural heritage. In 1893, he won thunderous applause at the world Parliament of Reli- gions in Chicago with his very first words, “Sisters and Brothers of America”, and boldly proclaimed that religions were not meant to spread hate and discord but to foster love and brotherhood.
The Ramakrishna Mission founded by Vivekananda in Calcutta after his return from America, carries out educational and charitable work throughout India and has branches in Asia, Europe and the United States. Belur Math, eight kilometers from Calcutta, is the international headquarter of the Ramakrishna Mission. Its ar- chitecture represents a church, a mosque and a temple when viewed from differ- ent angles.
India celebrates National Youth Day on January 12th every year, on the occasion of Vivekananda’s Jayanti.
Here are some statements of Swamy Vivekananda:
What we say a man ‚knows’, should, in strict psychological language, be what he ‚discovers’ or ‚unveils’; what a man ‚learns’ is really what he ‚discovers’, by taking the cover off his own soul, which is a mine of infinite knowledge.
We say Newton discovered gravitation. Was it sitting anywhere in a corner waiting for him? It was in his own mind; the time came and he found it out. All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in your own mind. The external world is simply the suggestion, the occasion, which sets you to study your own mind, but the object of your study is al- ways your own mind. The falling of an apple gave the suggestion to Newton, and he studied his own mind. He rearranged all the previous links of thought in his mind and discovered a new link among them, which we call the law of gravitation.
All knowledge, therefore, secular or spiritual,is in the human mind. In many cases it is not discovered, but remains covered, and when the covering is being slowly taken off, we say, ‚We are learning’, and the advance of knowledge is made by the advance of this process of uncovering. The man from whom this veil is being lifted is the more knowing man, the man upon whom it lies thick is ignorant, and the man from whom it has entirely gone is all-knowing, omniscient. There have been omniscient men, and, I believe, there will be yet; and that there will be myriads of them in the cycles to come.
Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man… Therefore the only duty of the teacher... is to remove all obstructions from the way.
What is education? Is it book-learning? No. Is it diverse knowledge? Not even that. The training by which the current and expression of will are brought under control and become fruitful is called education.
Education is not filling the mind with a lot of facts. Perfecting the instrument and getting complete mastery of my own mind is the ideal of education.
To me the very essence of education is concentration of mind, not the collecting of facts. If I had to do my education over again, and had any voice in the matter, I would not study facts at all. I would develop the power of concentration and detachment, and then with a perfect instrument I could collect facts at will. Side by side, in the child, should be developed the power of concentration and detachment.
Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested, all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library… If education is identical with information, the libraries are the greatest sages in the world, and encyclopedias are the Rishis.
We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.
The education which dies not help the common mass of people to equip them- selves for the struggle for life, which dies not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion – is it worth the name? Real education is that which enables one to stand on one’s own legs.
What we need,... is to study, independent of foreign control, different branches of the knowledge that is our own, and with it the English language and Western science; we need technical education and all else that may develop industries so that men, instead of seeking for service, may earn enough to provide for themselves, and save something against a rainy day.
How can there be any progress of the country without the spread of education, the dawning of knowledge?... But know for certain that absolutely nothing can be done to improve the state of things, unless there is spread of education first among the women and the masses…”
In February a Bhajan Workshop took part led by Prema. The teachers had the opportunity to be busy with this subject in a deep way. Bhajans, songs for the praise of god, are deeply rooted in the Indian tradition; there are thousands of them. Singing Bhajans is a special spiritual discipline. In the Shanti Ananda School it takes part one time weekly.
At the end I want to give a report about our parents’ meeting in February. We called the parents to the school to have an impression how they think about the idea to build a new school. Of course this idea is connected with our intensive educational efforts to become a creative school oriented at living skills as well. I wrote in the last newsletter that the teachers would like to start a nature school where the children can learn living skills – similar to the nature schools of the Timbaktu Collective (www.timbaktu.org) we visited in January.
Our parents are very happy with our development and also very motivated to help us with advice and practice. They offered to help us in any concerns. So there is nothing to stand in the way against our further development. We are looking for a fitting property, after that we need some donors. Eventually we found the right property already…
Parents’ Meeting on February 16th
With sincere greetings from South India from
Helga Shanti Fründt
Foreigners should give their donation to this FCRA account
Shanti Ananda Education Society
Andhra Bank, Mudigubba Branch
Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India
Account No: 185410100007532
Indian persons should give their donation to the
Shanti Ananda Education Society
Geetha Nagar, Mudigubba 515511
Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank
Account No. 19073080607