A kindergarten (from German Kindergarten, literally “children’s garden”) is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school. His goal was that children should be taken care of and nourished in “children’s gardens” like plants in a garden.The term kindergarten is used around the world to describe a variety of different institutions that have been developed for children ranging from the ages of two to seven, depending on the country concerned. Many of the activities developed by Fröbel are also used around the world under other names. Playing, singing, practical activities, and social interaction are now widely accepted as essential aspects of developing skills and knowledge.
It is well established that the most important years of learning are begun at birth. During these early years, a human being is capable of absorbing more information at a time than they will ever be able to again. The environment of the young child influences the development of cognitive skills and emotional skills due to the rapid brain growth that occurs in the early years. Studies have shown that high quality/ or any high rated preschools have a long term effect in improving the outcomes of a child, especially a disadvantaged child.
Children between 3.5 to 4.5 years is essential for this section.
In the KG1, stress is on encouraging children to realize their inner potential while learning and growing at their own pace. Besides, they are motivated to observe and be aware of the environment around them. Stress is also laid on activities that promote language development and instill confidence in the children to verbalize their thoughts, feelings and impressions of the world around them.
Approach: Alma Kidz follows Montessori teaching approach. Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori and characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Although a range of practices exists under the name “Montessori”, the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) cite these elements as essential:
- Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 2½ or 3 to 6 years old by far the most common
- Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
- Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours
- A Constructivist or “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
- Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators
- Freedom of movement within the classroom
- A trained Montessori teacher
In addition, many Montessori schools design their programs with reference to Montessori’s model of human development from her published works, and use pedagogy, lessons, and materials introduced in teacher training derived from courses presented by Montessori during her lifetime.
Montessori education theory-Self-construction, liberty, and spontaneous activity
Montessori education is fundamentally a model of human development, and an educational approach based on that model. The model has two basic elements. First, children and developing adults engage in psychological self-construction by means of interaction with their environments. Second, children, especially under the age of six, have an innate path of psychological development. Based on her observations, Montessori believed that children at liberty to choose and act freely within an environment prepared according to her model would act spontaneously for optimal development. Human tendencies: Montessori saw universal, innate characteristics in human psychology that her son and collaborator Mario Montessori identified as “human tendencies” in 1957. The following are clearly identified:
- Work (also described as “purposeful activity”)
- Manipulation (of the environment)
In the Montessori approach, these human tendencies are seen as driving behaviour in every stage of development, and education should respond to and facilitate their expression.
Prepared environment: Montessori’s education method called free activity within a “prepared environment”, meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages, and to the individual personalities of each child. The function of the environment is to allow the child to develop independence in all areas according to his or her inner psychological directives. In addition to offering access to the Montessori materials appropriate to the age of the children, the environment should exhibit the following characteristics:
- Construction in proportion to the child and his/her needs
- Beauty and harmony, cleanliness of environment
- An arrangement that facilitates movement and activity
- Limitation of materials, so that only material that supports the child’s development is included