Mrs. Ruth Ndesandjo, the Headmistress in her office at the school
The real role of leadership in education is not and should not be command and control. It should be creating a climate of possibility. If you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that you completely did not anticipate and couldn’t have expected.’ – Mrs. Ruth Ndesandjo Headmistress Madari Kindergarten
THE CHILD CENTERED KINDERGARTEN
All parents want what is best for their child. But most first-time parents know very little about children or parenting. Learning parenting provides growth for parents as well as children. As our children’s first teachers we must provide love and warmth. calm and rhythm, interest and enthusiasm vital to their growth. And they provide us with new areas of study, work and self-examination as we come up against our shortcomings and the dilemmas our children present to us.
We must take into account all aspects of development – physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual – so we and our children can meet the challenges of our changing world and fulfill the purposes of our time on earth.
We are living in a time of transition, a time in which the old patterns of society no longer hold us. Life in our families, cities. churches and schools is changing at on ever-increasing rate as we struggle to establish or maintain equilibrium and then to create something new.
We need to recognize that the world of the young child is critically endangered today, as more and more children are placed in long hours at daycare from very early infancy and academics is pushed onto younger and younger children. We must understand that children are not little adults. They do not think, reason, feel or experience the world as an adult does. They are centered in their bodies and in the will which shows such powerful growth and need for movement in the first seven years. They learn primarily and most appropriately through example and imitation. Repetition and rhythm are vital elements in the healthy world of the young child.
The young child takes everything in without blocks or filters and we must pay special attention to the quality of the environment and the experiences that come to her. There needs to be a balance between stimulating and protecting the baby’s and young child’s senses. Stimulation from artificial sources (movies, records, synthetic fabrics) has a different impact on the young child than stimulation from your own voice or objects from nature. We need to be selective in what is experienced and help guard against violating the young child’s natural dreamy state.
Everything of life is taken in so deeply by the young child. Providing time and appropriate materials for this kind of play helps the child to work his way into earthly life by imitating through his play everything that he experiences. Allowing this natural impulse of creative imagination to flourish is one of the greatest gifts parents can give their child between birth and first grade.
The young child also has a natural artistic and musical ability which can be furthered by allowing its free expression without lessons or pressure to produce something in a certain way. Songs, rhythmical movement and circle games all speak to the magical world of early childhood.
Children must crawl before they walk and so it is important that children not be prematurely awakened from the imaginative world of early childhood. Trying to speed up development in young children places them at risk, with no apparent gain to justify such risks. Let them develop at their own, God-given, pace.
As our children’s first teachers, there is much we can do to provide the most nurturing environment for our young children, If we can take both knowledge and practical experience into our hearts, we will have increased confidence as we develop our own ethic of parenting and make our own best choices for our children. The challenges are great, but so are the growth and the rewards!
Mrs. Ruth Ndesandjo (Headmistress) Madari Kindergarten.