Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” and rightly so. Education, when offered in the right manner, can help individuals in transforming their lives and achieving the impossible. Often, we receive the very first lessons of our lives i.e. moral values, good behaviour, right eating habits and more at home but one simply cannot overlook the role of schools and higher institutions in imparting education. Kindergarten, elementary and high schools play a crucial role in educating toddlers and teenagers, thereby shaping their future as well as the future of our nation. But while most of the schools emphasize on ‘textbook’ learning New Delhi based Aarambh, based on the Waldorf Education system, has chosen a completely different method for teaching and educating children.
Established in 2013 with as many as four children in the kindergarten, Aarambh has now grown into one of the most reputable institutions and continues to grow organically adding one grade every year. At Aarambh, the teachers focus on understanding the needs of the child and shaping the curriculum in accordance with the child’s unique demands. The school provides enough space to children to grow, play, learn and expand as well as express their thoughts or feelings
Children between 0-7 years experience an extension of home, wherein the teachers are mostly involved in activities such as cooking, cleaning, repairing and other creative activities. As a result, the children imitate and learn from the teachers. After six years of age, children are promoted to Grade 1, where they’re introduced to alphabets, numbers, painting, music, drama, handwork etc. Aarambh de-emphasizes academics in the early years of schooling. There is minimal academics in the first grade and literacy readiness begins at the kindergarten stage whereas formal reading instruction is introduced in grade one. Thus, most of the children are reading independently by the middle or end of second grade.
During the elementary school years (i.e. grades 1-8), the students have a class (or “main lesson”) teacher, who stays with the class for a number of consecutive years. Many teachers stay with their class from first to eighth grade. Rather than using methods such as lecturing and rote learning, the school relies on artistic mediums to introduce different subjects and generating response as well as interest among children. In fact, there are no textbooks for children in the 1-5 grades and all they have are “main lesson books”, which are their own workbooks that they fill in during the course of the year.
The school has created a non-competitive environment for every child at the elementary level, which means there are no grades for children at this stage and the teachers essentially provides a detailed evaluation of the child at the end of the year. The school discourages the use of electronic media, particularly television, by young children and emphasizes on non-academic activities like learning how to stitch, knit, clean and participate in daily work.
In a nutshell, Waldorf Education system personalizes curriculum for every child and ensures that they get to play, enjoy, learn and grow as an individual.