The Early Years curriculum supports and values the benefits of an unfettered, un-hurried childhood. The children are allowed space to develop physical coordination and personal, social and cognitive skills without being rushed.
Kindergarten at Aarambh is a mixed age group for children between age 3 to 6 years. KG group usually comprises 15-20 children with minimum two experienced teachers.
The Curriculum supports the children in their early years in developing gross and fine motor skills through movement, encouraging creative capacities & imagination through freeplay & verbal storytelling, along with positive social skills through an adult led environment, worthy of imitation by these young children. This foundation developed in Kindergarten helps support learning in grades and life beyond.
The Early Years curriculum is based on the understanding that imitation and play(movement) are the young child’s natural way of learning.
Activities & KG work, aims to develop foundational senses, gross motor skills, speech, awareness of others and self-regulation
Collaboration in play, the sharing of food and other activities promote social development
Experiencing the natural world and sharing responsibility for such things as the care of their environment, for cleaning and tidying and for the preparation of food fosters responsibility, respect and self-reliance
Participation in the celebration of festivals inspires a sense of awe and reverence and build a sense of community and revernce towards diverse cultures.
Pre Literacy Skills
Songs, rhymes, stories; social engagement through play and at meal times.
Pre Numeracy Skills
Singing counting songs; engaging in counting and measuring during play and cooking time; exploring shape and numbers in drawing, crafts and during play time.
Experiencing nature in the outdoors, nature table; food preparation and seasonal cooking.
Developing gross motor skills during play, dance and movements during morning circle and outdoor play.
Singing of seasonal and festival songs and rhymes; use of simple instruments made by children with reyclable and natural materials such as rattles & shakers.
Art & Handwork
Experiencing colours through painting and drawing; use of simple hand tools in clay work, craft, woodwork and cookery.
Understanding 3 to 6 year olds
In this first stage of childhood, the child is primarily engaged in building their physical body. Everything in the environment such as sounds, colours, moods, gestures- which is taken in by the child and imitated by them becomes the basis of their physical health.
The physical body provides the foundation for development of the will of the adult human being. A healthy physical body and a well developed will leads to experiencing and exercising freedom in oneself and in the world in later years.
A Day in Kindergarten
Children arrive at Aarambh with their caregivers, around 9 A.M. They spend some time together, dropping the bags, bottles and meal boxes in their baskets outside the KG room. As parents say goodbye to their children, children move towards the garden area to play with friends, or perhaps stop by to watch a snail pass or picking dropped flowers and leaves for later play time.
Teachers begin to hum a song, which helps children to gradually transition indoors, where children and teachers sit together in a circle for the morning circle time. Teachers begin singing welcome songs and many other seasonal songs accompanied by gestures, (whole body and smaller movements). Children at their own pace, over many days start imitating the songs and gestures of the teacher and so the group together begins to participate in the circle time. Children & teachers then crawl towards the garden space. This is a great space for children to be immersed in music & movement and through these they become aware of changing seasons & festivals, along with strengthening their motor functions.
Aarambh offers vast outdoor space and a garden. Here, children mostly play with open ended materials that are offered by nature such as stones, twigs, wood logs, sand, along with tyres, swings area, trampoline & a tall tree tower. Children build their own play & imaginative games such as digging tunnels in the sandpit or house games in the garden. Swinging the tires down the road, playing running games, climbing up the tree tower and sometimes jumping to their heart's content on the giant trampoline as well. Teachers are in close proximity to children, taking care of them when need arises, at the same time busy with their own kindergarten work such as knitting, chopping fruits, or cleaning the outdoor space.
Teachers & children together sit in a circle for the fruit time. It begins with a few finger rhymes to bring the attention of the young children back to the next part of the day i.e the fruit time and also becomes a space to work on their fine motor skill development. After this, teachers & children together, sing a song to thank Mother Earth. Children then patiently wait for their turn to go to the teacher and collect their fruit boxes. Eating together helps children try new fruits sent by parents & build reverence towards a variety of food.
Play Time- Indoors
During indoor playtime children have access to open ended play materials, made out of natural materials such as wood, cloth, wool. These would be dolls, un shaped wooden blocks & toys, dupattas, animal shaped toys, pine cones, cloth strings, kitchen utensils and so on. Many times children would be playing imaginative house games such as baking cakes, cooking meals or 'going to office'. It is children initiated play time, while teachers work at a distance, taking care of KG & Aarambh space.
Work during playtime
KG has a weekly rhythm during playtime, where the teacher initiates KG related work such as on Mondays it would be cooking time- peeling, grating veggies, picking harvest from the garden, pounding rock salt & so on. On Tuesdays, KG may do handwork such as : stringing beads, making caterpillars out of cloth pieces, making toran (leave strings) for festivals or mandala for decorating Christmas trees, making dolls out corn peels. While another day of the week, the KG group does child-led painting, without teacher instructions, and older KG children become helpers of the teacher to set up & clean the painting area. As teachers are immersed in their work, children over a period of time may feel drawn towards the work and join in to do it along with the teachers, at their own pace. The emphasis is on building the 'will' in young children rather than encouraging them externally to contribute to work through coercion or repeated request.
Around noon, every day after a short washroom break, children and teachers gather together in an indoor play area for storytime. Teachers narrate stories through memory, without using books and sometimes may use simple puppets and materials available in KG indoor & outdoor space. This provides opportunity for young children to build varied pictorial representations of the story & characters as per their imagination, thereby strengthening their creative capacities. Same story is repeated by the teacher for the whole month. This helps in building memory capacity in children which is still in its nascent stage in early KG years and repetition also builds a sense of security and familiarity in them.
Children carry their lunch boxes from home which are arranged neatly by the KG teachers and brought together during lunchtime. Once a month, Grade 5 children along with the teachers cook lunch for KG children at Aarambh. Lunchtime begins once again with a thanking song for Mother Earth, which helps children build reverence. Teacher then calls out 'helper of the day' to help her distribute lunch mats to each child after which one by one children go to the teacher to receive their lunch box. During lunchtime, Teachers encourage & also give continuous support to children to eat independently and make their lunch box 'shining'. Many times it ends with a little treat such as a healthy sweet made at Aarambh or a piece of jaggery, which children look forward to receiving and tasting!
The KG ends around 2 pm. Children with the help of the teachers wear their shoes, pack their bags and bottles and are then received by their caregivers and guardians outside the KG room.