Promise Centre is a Steiner Waldorf Kindergarten, located in North East Bangalore. We began in 1990 and became a Steiner Waldorf Kindergarten in 2009, making us the first of its kind in the state of Karnataka.
At Promise Centre, we believe in providing education through the Hands, Heart and Head following in the precepts of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf system of education. The learning in a Waldorf school is in continuous motion and has been proven through the role of repetition, rhythm and reverence in the actions of a child below the age of 7.
Our objective is to strengthen the innate will of the child through repetition of activities in a reverential manner, which in turn builds the child’s confidence. This confidence lays the foundation for formal education after the age of 6. We strive to protect the wonder of childhood and to keep the purity of the child’s innate nature intact.
We admit only 28-30 children to maintain a 1:10 teacher child ratio.
Every year since our inception for every 10 children we have admitted one differently abled child and for every 19 children, provided free education for one financially challenged child.
Promise Centre stands on a corner property at the beginning of an eponymous street. The low cost, eco-friendly building was designed and built by Lalitha Mandana, our Founder, in collaboration with her architect, in 1998. Its sloping roof, natural light and pastel wall colours make it a well-ventilated space, safe and completely child friendly. The experience of being in the mother’s womb is recreated with the pastels of purples and pinks adorning the walls and only natural sunlight, filtered through the canopy of large ficus, jacaranda, jack fruit and mango trees that stand tall in the school yard. The most striking feature about the interior is its fluid form, enclosing nothing yet extending warmth, protection and spirituality to all who enter the space.
Along with the clean and bare physical space the children are given toys that stimulate their imagination. All toys are wooden and have little to no facial features. There are no complete toys, for example, a few pieces of wood strung together with a rope denote a train. This is so that the child’s imagination can run wild and he can make anything of the toy he is playing with, from a train to a caterpillar to a rope bridge. It teaches the importance of finding your joy from nothing at all and the reverence for all things, even for a block of wood.
As you enter the classroom there is a ‘nature table’, depicting the seasons and festivals at that time of year. The objects are arranged in a meaningful yet aesthetic manner and are all made of natural material.
The exterior is an equally important space at Promise Centre. The garden, the rope swing, sandpit and 7-foot wooden climbing frame all serve as an extension of the classroom. It is where the children experience and connect with nature in its true form. There is a certain divinity to this space. It bears testimony to what piques their curiosity, be it the dry skeleton of a fallen leaf, a trail of red ants or a fleeting butterfly.
Lalitha is a born teacher. Her love for children and understanding of their individual spirit comes not only from the experiences in her simple yet rich life but also from five decades of working with children. When she founded Promise Centre in 1990, she was the headmistress of a well-reputed International school in Bangalore. In the subsequent years word spread about her unconventional teaching methods and admissions began to pour in. Her superlative understanding of the true nature of children and the personal care she extended made it a space that children loved to be in and parents yearned for their children to be in. Her own childlike curiosity still keeps her an active participant in the activities and events at the school. Lalitha leads parent education at Promise Centre and is a core member on the board of trustees at Advaya Shaale, the second Waldorf Grade School in Bangalore.
Principal and Lead Teacher
Jyostna has education running through her veins, it is her true calling. When you see her with the children is when you realise that education is an art, and the teacher an artist. After majoring in Literature and Psychology she spent a decade teaching in Montessori and mainstream schools. In 2004, she joined her mother, Lalitha at Promise Centre. In spite of adopting the practices from all the available systems of education, something still seemed amiss. Its at an IPMT conference in 2005 that she first came across Waldorf education and realised that Lalitha had all along been practising the principles of Waldorf education. From then on there was no looking back for her, she completed her Waldorf Kindergarten training at the annual seminar in Khandala and has attended it diligently ever since. She then attended every possible Waldorf training session there was at Hyderabad, which is where the Waldorf system took root in India.
In 2009, Jyotsna took Promise Centre from a Waldorf inspired to a full-fledged Waldorf Kindergarten. In 2011, she did a three-year foundation course in curative education and social therapy through Friends of Camphill India. In 2013, Jyostna started early childhood training programs, which she conducts every year. She is a core group member in South India of Sadhana, Association of the Indian Waldorf Kindergarten. She delivers lectures based on concerns in the kindergarten, with a view to make the kindergarten an active parent community, to spread the wealth of Waldorf education and invite parents to conscious parenting. Jyotsna is also a core member on the board of trustees at Advaya Shaale. What’s more, she has been a Waldorf parent for the past 14 years.