Buds and Blossoms, the KINDERGARTEN UNIT of Akshara Vidyaashram was started 20 years ago with an intention of making school both fun and learning for children. “HAPPY SCHOOLING” has been its vision and “Tapping the innate potential of every child” its mission. The Kindergarten also derives its inspiration from STEINER WALDORF EDUCATION, the philosophies of Akshara Vidyaashram and Steiner are very similar and go hand in hand.Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was an Austrian philosopher whose ideas founded the basis of Anthroposophy. He applied his ideas to Education as well as agriculture, medicine, eurhythmy, architecture and social reform. The priority of the Steiner philosophy is to provide an UNHURRIED and creative learning environment where children can find the joy in learning and experience the richness of childhood rather than early specialisation of academics.  KINDERGARTEN CURRICULUM (WALDORF INSPIRED) The kindergarten program at Buds & Blossoms has always been to meet the learning needs of a young child. Children learn primarily through imitation and imagination. The goal of the kindergarten is to develop a sense of wonder in the young child and reverence for all living things. This later creates eagerness for the academics that follow in the primary school. The curriculum includes Morning circle songs, Freeplay, Artistic activities and Stories based on seasons or festivals related to our surroundings and deeply connected to our Indian traditions. Festivals, seasons and birthdays are celebrated with great meaning in our environment.  LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT In the evolution of humanity, spoken language developed first. Then came written language, originally through symbols. Finally, once there was a written language, people learned to read. This is exactly the sequence in which children master language, and so is the sequence in which reading must be introduced. From birth to age 7, the focus is on the spoken word. Thus the LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT is enhanced by singing Sanskrit prayers, English & Regional language songs. They also listen to nature stories, folktales and fairy tales. It may look like play, but language skills are being developed daily.  PLAY = LEARNING Playing is a tool of learning, socialising and discovering. Extensive time is given for guided indoor free-play in a classroom environment that is homelike; which includes playing with natural materials like seeds, sea shells, twigs, pebbles, wooden blocks, handmade dolls & so on. This allows children strengthen their IMAGINATION and CREATIVITY. Outdoor play time is also an essential part of the day. Children experience nature and its elements. Importance is given to PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT by encouraging movements like running, climbing, skipping and so on, which facilitates GROSS MOTOR development which further helps in the physical readiness of children to read and write.  CHILD READINESS Becoming able to walk, to speak, and to think are significant achievements in a period of first 3-4 years. Children do this without any formal instruction but through hidden ability, instinct and above all- IMITATION. The young child not only imitates the speech and the gestures of people, but also the attitudes and values of parents. Basic FINER AND GROSS MOTOR skills required for later academic learning are nurtured through domestic and artistic activities that are simple and easy for the child to imitate. This development is supported and enhanced by several activities like drawing, painting, cooking, gardening and so on. According to our ancient GURUKULA SYSTEM, children are ready for formal learning after the falling of first milk tooth. Research shows that engaging young children in abstract, intellectual activity too early, would adversely affect the child’s growth and development, which would also manifest itself later in life in the form of disease. Hence writing, reading and other abstract concepts will be introduced age appropriately, when the child is ready for academics between class 1 to 3. We generally discourage pupils’ use of electronic media such as television and computers. Educational scholars Philip and Glenys Woods say this is done “not from an anti-technology bias but because its use at a younger age is understood to be out of harmony with children’s developmental needs. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT We encourage children to eat healthy and fresh home cooked food. Children bring fruits everyday and this is shared by all the children in class. Whenever possible we recommend organic fruits and vegetables, especially for children. The overuse of salt, sugar and artificial flavourings may DISTURB the healthy development of our children. SCHOOL FOR PARENTS TOO As parents we need to spend extensive and exclusive time for REFLECTION on parenting our children. PARENTING in our modern age is very DEMANDING. We encourage -Parents to actively participate in school events and celebrations -Parents with any special hobby or interest are also encouraged to volunteer -Regular parenting programs with different topics -Couple counselling and Family Goal Setting OUR FACILITATORS Teachers at Buds & Blossoms are dedicated to generate an inner enthusiasm for learning within every child. Children and teacher respect each other as members of a family. The language and tone of our teachers’ voice is soft, calm and caring. Teachers are trained to observe ALL-ROUND DEVELOPMENT of a child and this eliminates the need for competitive tests, scores and behavioural remarks to motivate learning.

All this provides a firm basis for enthusiasm and joy in learning.

MORE FACTS ABOUT WALDORF: With more than 1,000 WALDORF SCHOOLS in more than 60 countries, over 2,000 Waldorf early childhood programs on 5 continents, and more than 600 institutions for curative education, Waldorf Education is truly global-not only in its scope, but also in its approach. Wherever it is found, the WALDORF CURRICULUM cultivates within its students a deep appreciation for cultural traditions from around the world and at the same time being deeply rooted in its local culture and context. People in INDIA are becoming increasingly interested in Steiner Waldorf Education as it finds its roots with our ancient Gurukula system. Besides the 4 schools in Hyderabad- Sloka, Abhaya, Diksha and Prerana, there are 2 schools in Mumbai – Tridha and Inodai, 1 in Bangalore- Bangalore Steiner School and more than 13 Waldorf kindergartens across the nation. In addition to the Steiner Waldorf Schools, there are over 50 Waldorf-inspired/ Waldorf-oriented schools, which have introduced Waldorf ideas and methodology in their mainstream syllabus. Some useful links: WORKSHOPS Advaith, the training and self- enhancement centre of Akshara Vidyaashram, will be organizing workshops towards best practices in Kindergarten for parents. This would be an ideal space to get all your queries addressed regarding the growth of the child below age of seven. If you are interested, please write to us. We will intimate you about the next upcoming workshop.

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As per the recent guidelines provided by Chennai Sahodaya, Kindergarten admissions for year 2015-16 will begin only in February 2015. The exact date of issuance of application will be informed shortly. Please leave your details for us to get in touch with you.

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