The day in the kindergarten is structured in such a manner that the children have the freedom to be happy doing what they are best at, being themselves. Between 0-7 years children are led by their own imagination and ability to imitate what they observe. That’s why you’ll notice the absence of a blackboard and books in the Kindergarten. The children use their bodies, senses and observation to learn from the environment, their friends and teachers.
The children come in one by one in the morning and play outside in the school yard on the climbing frame, in the sandpit and on the swings. Some of them may water the plants and climb trees.
Free play indoors is when their imaginations take flight into the magical worlds of kings, queens, doctors, patients, farmers and superheroes through planks of wood, scarves and stuffed toys. The activities have a certain rhythm alternating between those that need concentration and stillness and those that let them be more active. The children recreate their environment through their vivid imaginations and thereby build their social and communication skills, learn to share and include one and another in an activity, all unintentionally. This lays the foundation for their budding personalities.
The children are not given any direction. All teaching occurs through songs, or through relating to what they understand. For example, if they are painting, to keep the colours pure, the teacher may tell them that there is a fairy at the end of each paintbrush and she needs a wash before being dipped into another colour. That becomes the dialogue between them and when they have finished, they clean out the brush and water for the next child.
The teacher is gentle yet firm. She observes the children from a distance while making preparations for the day. She only intervenes if a child is upset or disruptive. An activity is assigned to each day of the week like, ‘washing day’, ‘painting day’ etc. Through the week they are engaged in cooking, washing, painting and weaving. When a festival is around the corner, the arts and crafts activities are based on the rituals followed for that festival, for example, the children paint diyas for Diwali, make coloured water from boiling flower petals for Holi etc.
The morning ends with story time, the children all gather around the teacher who narrates the story in a soft tone with a few gestures so as to let the children be led by their own imagination.
Children don’t like surprises. They need to know what is happening and what is going to happen next so the rhythm changes only if there is an event on that day at the school.