My learning from Japan…..By Ms. Pradnya Thorat (Grade 1 Teacher)

日本から学んだ

Nihon kara mananda

Few years ago when I was in Japan, I had enrolled my child in a Japanese kindergarten school called as Yochiien. It was not only a beautiful learning experience for my daughter but also for me as an individual. Japan and Japanese people have always amazed me. All over Japan before the school starts (all school start normally at same time) and after the school disperses there is a specific music played throughout the city just to make everyone aware that the children will be on the road and one needs to be careful.

In the school my daughter with other children just played around, rolled papers, played with clay, did gardening etc. Till the age of 6, the whole emphasis is to develop the child’s multiple intelligences. The students are responsible to keep their classrooms and school clean. Every day by turn few kids sweep the floor, serve the food etc. In the younger years of the child the focus is more on developing the values within the child, to create a better citizen, to make an independent person. This according to me is very necessary as it instills the thought that no job is less or low in kind. The kids are taught to be empathetic, polite and humble.

I remember one instance when I and my mother were walking on a very small footpath in Japan. The cyclists can cycle on footpaths there. There was this one kid maybe aged 11-12years old and he was behind us as there was no space for him to overtake us. This child just kept walking behind us till we realized and gave him the way. He quickly sat on his cycle said Gomen nasai (sorry) and drove away. The humbleness, the consideration for others, feeling of not troubling others is instilled right from the childhood. That instance is always close to my heart and I feel that these are the things , values which we as adult should strive to foster in our new generation…well that happens best with we doing it ourselves. When I came back I looked for such a school where the focus is on creating the individual and not a machine. However I could not find it at the right time, but when I came across Kalpavruksha ,understood its philosophy ,I knew it that this was the kind of school which I always wanted for my child. Though my child has already graduated from high school but nevertheless it’s a great opportunity to work under the school which I always desired of.

DO WE HAVE TIME TO STAND AND STARE by Mrs. Dimple Mehrotra

“TO STAND AND STARE..”

Many a times I wonder what would happen if I stood for some time and admired the nature and its beauty. The fine thought scares me, will I get run over by the heavy traffic of people stomping up and down the road with no sorry or excuse me. I remembered this verse in the poem “ Daffodils” which got me into the world of imagination how beautiful the world would be if I could find a place to sit and breathe fresh air into lungs. I wish to go back to my childhood where I dreamt my wishes would come true.

New year comes in with reflections of past years where at this time of the year we were all unaware of what is in store for us. Who knew life will change overnight for most of us? As time went by and months flew away with a year gone by I realized, in introspect that it wasn’t as bad, I did live my dreams to be one with nature. The changes in the weather, the rustling of leaves, the unknown species of birds around and animals on the street .I truly lived my days though not intentionally did say a small prayer.

As an educator in true sense, I wish we would make this life as pleasant for our coming generations. Bringing them close to nature, make them one with their spirit soul give them the realization of their sole objective of coming into this being. I think I am on it with designing and planning the new year Waldorf curriculum the work is in progress.

My resolution for year 2021 will be to take and give that opportunity to all children in all respect under any circumstances , I will and I shall…..

The seeding thoughts sown on a train journey…….by Mrs. Minal Gurav (Grade 4 Teacher)

Back in college I was travelling to some inner parts of Maharashtra by train with a troupe of performers. The troupe had a mix of all age groups, and I was one of the youngest. We were doing all things that are characteristic to train journeys, singing, eating oranges, sharing packed snacks, chatting with co-passengers and so on. Then as part of the same endless chatting, eating and snacking one of us peeled an orange, and looked around to check where to discard the peels, and then without giving it much thought, tossed it out of the window. One of the senior troupe members, with her beautiful expressive eyes expressed shock without using a single word. Then she explained the reason behind that expression, and explained to us why littering was not ok. Then another senior member was a student of life science joined in, and added her perspective. She said that littering was definitely not ok, but right now the train was passing through greener patches, and there were trees around. So it was still fine to throw ‘biodegradable’ stuff but throwing aluminum foils and so on was completely unacceptable. I asked her what biodegradable was and she explained it with a beautiful hand gesture to show that the earth can take it and turn it into soil. Till date I have a crystal clear memory of the scene. Not like it was dramatic, but I guess it had an impact since I was also at an impressionable age.

However, this seemingly uneventful incident has been a starting point of a thought process that has driven me into conscious living. It has wired my mind to make a constant assessment of what is bio degradable and what is not. This continued and it brought me to a decision of ‘minimum waste living’. How do you live in a manner that most things you use are re-usable. You don’t mindlessly pick up anything without thinking of how much unnecessary packaging the product has which will add to waste. For example: You would come home, take that toothpaste carton and toss ti in the bin, it is a sheer waste, why can’t tooth pastes be sold just as they are without that carton?

This has continued and now one tries to see that the bio degradable waste from home is re-cycled into compost, and the citrus waste is re-cycled to make non-chemical all purpose household cleaners.

This train event I have shared here is significant to my mind simply because of its ordinariness. It is so crucial that one gets exposed to different life situations, different people and ‘life’ is the real teacher. Schools can only ensure that they bring such moments of ‘learning’ to you. But life is full of it. And when we are ready we absorb it.

In Waldorf our mentors have given us one very important lesson, you can only provide and create appropriate experiences for children. You can actually never teach, you can only facilitate by being a catalyst.