What changes do you see in children from the time they enroll in a Playway programme to when they leave?
Children become absolutely confident – they know how to handle the world. They are able to carry on the learning to higher classes and from then on to the outside world.
What are the parents’ reactions to Playway teaching methods?
A few years ago, parents were used only to the writing–reading mode. They were not used to Playway. Initially we had a tough time convincing them – they would compare their children with other children in the neighbourhood. But now they are seeing the results – their kids are able to apply and learn rather than learn by rote. Over time, parents are realising that today’s children just cannot be taught by rote – they need to be engaged.
“There are a few Waldorf or Steiner schools in India now, but not many people really know what the philosophy is all about. ParentEdge spoke to Patrick Brilliant, Founder Member and Director of Tridha, a Steiner school in Mumbai, to get a better understanding of the system’s methods, principles and practices. Brilliant has completed training in Steiner education in France and has been conducting an Education Course for teachers and parents for the last 13 years.”
What methods does the Steiner system use to help young children develop?
We have only one objective – the all-round development of the child – but the tools that we use to achieve this are many. Our understanding leads us to believe that at the age of three, the physical development of the child is most important. At this age, he can understand and explore the world only with his limbs and his senses. So we provide them with experiences for their senses – they play with wood, mud, sand, they see their teachers fixing and repairing things, cooking, etc. Children are also encouraged to sing a lot. They are surrounded by furniture and accessories made of natural materials like cotton, silk, wood. We tell them a lot of fairy tales – this develops their listening skills, and speech develops when they talk about the stories they have heard.
When these children move to the primary section, an additional aspect is introduced. They continue working with their senses, but now also have to use their imaginations. We teach concepts, letters and numbers through story-telling; they trace letters in the sand, draw a lot – basically combining their senses and imagination.