Think Beyond The Books

Expert Meeting with Mr. Manivannan Ganapathy, Waldorf Educator

Kingdom of Childhood
This all started with the intention of understanding the curative therapy aspect of Waldorf education. Mr. Manivannan Ganapathy, trustee at the Bangalore Steiner school, is a full time teacher and also Teacher trainer at Kingdom of Childhood. He is a graduate not only in English and Sanskrit literature but has also completed various Waldorf trainings in India, Germany and Switzerland.

The idea of meeting him came to our minds and I immediately sent a detailed message to him requesting a face to face appointment in Bangalore and he graciously said Yes! We planned to meet at 5 pm at his textile shop in JP Nagar.

I entered his shop and at cash counter I met a pleasant faced, young teenage boy, Amar (Mr.Manivannan’s son) and he welcomed me. He immediately contacted his dad through telephone and informed him that I had arrived.  He seemed to be studying and was poring over some notes.  I casually chatted with him and asked what he was reading and enquired about which school he was attending? To my utter surprise, he mentioned that he was home schooling with an awesome teacher that was none other than his Dad. What a cool idea Sir ji :-)!!

Mr. Manivannan, came riding on his bike welcomed me with a smile on his face. It did not seem like we were strangers at a first meeting. There was a certain warmth and kindness exuding in the space.

Manivannan and Karthick Jayaram

Manivannan and Karthick Jayaram

He talked at length about the Curative therapy and it’s spiritual connection. He gave me a lot of ideas to implement and taught me how to make it a success in Trichy in long term. Our talk touched upon areas such as – Waldorf, Indian culture and it’s meaning, Parents’ discussions and meeting, Handling home situations, Classroom management, Importance of the curriculum, Harmony, Circle time, Music recorder (Waldorf  classical Flute).

Then, I saw Amar bringing our fruit juice for us.  I encouraged him to share his views about his future aspirations and he mentioned that he wanted to be either a Farmer or Actor. I have met several youngsters and asked them such questions. But, I have never ever heard any teenage boy saying this! Also he told me that he spends his free time playing Table Tennis, Cricket and he is Champion other forms of sport too. He also plays instrumental  music. I was certainly wowed. I was convinced that the confidence he showed stemmed from his Waldorf  education. Mr. Manivannan had not only taught  the Waldorf education model to others but had really adopted it in his own life with shining results.

I certainly believe that Ingress can also build and seed such confidence in every child.

I thanked Mr. Manivannan for his time and finally I invited Mr. Manivannan to visit to Ingress as and when it was convenient for him. He has agreed to visit say in between April-May 2015. I truly think his visit will pave way for the needy parents in Trichy who want to have a holistic education for their kids. He will certainly help further everyone’s understanding of Waldorf education.

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Interaction with Dr. Rajesh Kannan, Fiji Islands.

Dr. Rajesh Kannan is a Senior Faculty Member, School of Engineering & Physics, University of South Pacific, Fiji. He is a Waldorf Parent, who sent his kid (Baby Riya Kannan) to a Waldorf Kindergarten in Suva, Fiji. Presently, Riya is back in India and integrated into a matriculation school near Madurai.

When we discussed the philosophy and methodology of Ingress Junior School with Dr. Rajesh, he was pleasantly surprised and excited that there is a Waldorf inspired school in Trichy!!

The Ingress team invited him for an interaction with our teachers primarily to share his experience as a Waldorf parent in Fiji, to which he happily and readily agreed.

His talk focused on the interesting chemistry in between teacher-kid relationships.  As an advanced level educator himself, it was heartening when he mentioned that the experience as Waldorf parent is most enriching and happiest.

He told us that Baby Riya was always a happy kid since her early years and is still  very strongly bonded with her teachers. The day generally started off with lots of play involved and the teacher was highly hands on in the kindergarten. Understanding basic needs, giving back love, hugs, care and keen attention to students interests were mentioned as the primary reason why Riya bonded well with her school teachers.

Our teachers evinced keen interested in Dr. Rajesh’s talk and desired deeper interaction and they asked appropriate leading questions to understand the details of everyday class well. He patiently explained and shared his experiences with a lot of real world examples primarily based on his own kid. It was a unique experience for our Ingress team to hear from an experienced Waldorf parent.

He also wished success for IJS on our journey as a Waldorf inspired School @ Trichy.

Thanks a lot Dr. A. Rajesh Kannan for wishing & motivating us. We now understand the letter and spirit of your Waldorf experience better and will strive to give the children @ Ingress our very best.

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Mr. Paul Mandaiker’s Visit to Ingress

At the outset, our sincere heartfelt thanks to Ms. Nana Goebel, Managing Director of Waldorf World-wide Education, Berlin, Germany for sharing with us the contact of Mr. Paul Mandaiker.

I had emailed Mr. Paul Mandaiker regarding Ingress Junior School and requested him to pay us a visit.  He was kind enough to accept our invitation & visited us on Friday, Jan 09, 2015. The New Year had just begun and we welcomed the positive vibes of a kind hearted person visiting us, sharing notes on first hand experiences with Waldorf education and inspiring us.

Mr. Paul Mandaiker is an interesting personality with varied interests who is exploring different things in his career – Architecture, International Business, Public relations, Marketing and now its Supply chain. It is a quite an interesting story that we heard.

Mr. Mandaiker visited Ingress and addressed the Ingress teachers, the local trustees stationed in Trichy and the interested parents.  He shared his vivid childhood experiences in the Waldorf education school. His narration of his childhood in the Waldorf School, Tübinger Freie Waldorfschule, Germany was awesome. In particular, he recounted his experience with his Waldorf class teacher teaching Geography with help of compass & map and that was followed by an activity of the students exploring Mt. Alps.  Having the confidence in them to have a real experience that gave them a concrete understanding of the classroom concept was quite refreshing. He told us about the play in which he had acted as “Blue King”. Everything he learned was based on real, fun & practical experiences and it seemed that any student would be motivated to carry those moments as carefully treasured memories throughout their lifetime.

He reinforced that his childhood was totally stress free and he was under no pressure. His accompanying friend said that his questions during participation in class were always thought provoking.  He would always think in through the issues and circumstances from different perspectives & his questions were always very interesting. Mr. Paul had always been encouraged to ask questions even about facts and that was part and parcel of the way of learning as a Waldorf student.

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He also told us a Christmas story upon the request of our teachers.  It was related to Joseph seeing different things and having unique experiences, on the day that “Baby Jesus” was born. As a token of thanks, our teachers presented Mr. Paul, a handmade souvenir.

Mr. Paul is very soft spoken and was smiling throughout his visit. We would certainly like to have him back at Ingress in near future.

Mr. Paul toured the Ingress premises and planted a sapling in our Ingress garden. This sapling is a symbol of the Ingress team nurturing our young students, to help them to grow in their life as happy children and develop strong roots resembling memorable experiences in their childhood.  Let us all see our students grow and flower just like the tree that Mr. Paul planted.

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Ingress: Exploring the future

Gone are the days where kids cried for going to school. The conventional approach of teaching, involved the relationship between a kid and teacher as a lion and the ring master. Upon my experience, I thought these energetic kids should undergo the education in a friendly nurturing and loving manner.

Here is an environment where kids will consider the school as their home (a home away from their home). The mode of teaching is carved, to adapt the kids mind to be engaged in active mode and not saturated as in the conventional method of teaching.

Present days, most of us are in nuclear families, with employed mother having very little time for our young buddies and therefore the kids spend most of their time in school and their enrichment classes.

It’s perfectly natural to be anxious about sending your child to preschool for the first time. It is a critical transition period from home to school for the child as it will take time for him/her to settle in.

I personally believe that if a child feels that school is an enjoyable place where he can learn and experience something new each day, this feeling will stay with him/her even as he grows older.

At this age child needs love and lot of hugs. So ensure that your child enters a warm and welcoming atmosphere which has friendly teachers who are cheerful, loving and caring for the child and makes your child to settle in easily.

The teacher should play the role of a guide, facilitator and a mentor. They need to acknowledge that today’s children could know much more than they do. “I am the teacher and elder, so I am right” is no longer valid.

As a mentor and a facilitator the teacher should first listen, without judging if the child is right or wrong. Children see the teacher’s role as very important in decision making process. Now it is the foremost duty of a parent to ensure that their child is in a safe and a comfortable environment.

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Why ingress?

We at Ingress, aim to cherish the spirit of consciousness in the child by a way of alternate teaching and practical knowledge. We believe in a kind of education that nurture values and spirit of inquiry to explore the world around. We provide space for children to think, express, explore, exhibit their skills and empower them. Importance will be given for hands on training to stimulate their creative potential in them. Our system of education stresses on passion and generosity.

We instill the joy of learning, which would set the tone for the rest of their lives. When a child is comfortable he/she will be able to interact with the society. We ensure that the child feels comfortable and at the same time we strike a balance by maintaining the discipline of the school.

We encourage the social and emotional development of a child which initiates the skills of interaction, sharing, independence and decision making amidst them. We focus the development of basic language and cognitive skills. The child’s pre-math and pre- literacy skills are also given a boost, giving him a strong base for learning in kindergarten .We assure that at Ingress Junior School, we provide a safe and healthy environment for your kids and you can enjoy watching your cocoons transit into colorful butterflies.

 

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Ingress: Journey to Berlin

INGRESS PURE INTENTIONS @ TIRUCHIRAPPALLI TO STUTTGART (PART 1… Continued)

I had written a mail to Ms. Nana Goebel, Managing Director of Waldorf World Wide Education, seeking a meeting appointment. I waited patiently for her reply but got no news for three days.  After deep thought, I floated a gentle reminder about my original email.

To my delight, I got an immediate response and she explained humbly that the first mail got filed as spam and only the second mail reached her. She acknowledged my purpose and gave an appointment to see her at the Berlin.

Wow! I was super excited to make the long journey, from Stuttgart to Berlin to get her expert opinion on how we should proceed to make progress with the school set up strategy including teacher recruitment and student enrolment for successfully running the school in the long term. A lot of questions were in my mind & I hoped to remember every detail so that I could relay it back correctly and successfully transfer the ‘Know how’ to the Ingress team in India!

Ms. Nana Goebal

Ms. Nana Goebel, Managing Director of Waldorf World Wide Education

My appointment to meet Ms. Nana Goebel was in the morning at 10 A.M.  I had reached Berlin the night before and chose to stay at the Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V.(Friends of Waldorf Education).  This is where I needed to meet Ms. Goebel  the next morning.

In my excitement, I could not sleep and I was all the time rehearsing and practicing the questions for her in my mind.  I wondered what direction the conversation would take and whether at all I would be able to accomplish the purpose of visit. I was not sure what to expect from her.  Nevertheless, I got up early around 6 AM and decided to do a ‘practice’ walk to Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners, Berlin where her office is situated. I did not want to be late and decided to use my nervous energy to make things easy on myself.  I had a route map with directions leading towards the holy place.  After a steady, short walk, I reached the venue at around 6.35 AM. Confident that I knew the way, I walked back to the hotel room and got ready for the big event.

I gobbled a quick breakfast from the café and walked to the Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners, Berlin and without any trouble, I had entered the Managing Director’s Cabin.  Ms. Nana Goebel was a simple and nice gentle lady, welcomed me whole heartedly and offered milk coffee with sugar.

She was quite familiar with Indian traditions and food styles, after basic enquiries about my stay and travel, she made me comfortable to discuss the purpose of my visit.

We started the conversation and it was incredibly successful. She poured information onto me readily including guidance on matters I asked and also that I had not asked!!!   Discussions took almost 2.5 to 3 hours.  She gave me the contacts in India and a wealth of information on how to approach Waldorf inspired education. She gifted me some books on Waldorf methodology and latest brochures for improving understanding of the model. She also promised to help in future, and answer any further questions that we may have.

I had a lot of information both in my mind as well physical material to carry.  I was keen to transfer the knowledge to Ingress and I was confident at these initial interactive phases of Stuttgart and Berlin would be strong foundation pillars for building Ingress Junior School.

As Rudolf Steiner Says,”A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living”. At IJS, we work as community to bring the best possible from each one of us to the betterment of the children.

When the intentions are pure, the angels will come to help in favor of you.  Ms. Nana Goebel is one such angel for the Ingress team.

After our meeting was done, Ms. Nana Goebel suggested some Museums to visit in Berlin.  I explored around the capital for a little bit in celebration of the contentment in my heart after my mission was accomplished. I had a wonderful time exploring the museums, getting on the city tour, graffiti artist’s tour & of course enjoyed super yummy Punjabi food in Berlin!!

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Ingress Pure Intentions @ Tiruchirappalli to Stuttgart

Trichy to Stuttgart

When we had an idea to start a school, everyone on the Ingress team became an eager participant in selecting the teaching methodology. We talked, argued, debated & finally zoomed in on the “Waldorf methodology”. To have a deeper understanding and first-hand experience of what this methodology advocated, I decided to pay a visit to the Waldorf School at Stuttgart, Germany. To my surprise, Waldorf Stuttgart was the first ever school created by Rudolf Steiner in world. As of today, there are more than 220 successful Waldorf schools in Germany and more than 1000 Waldorf schools in 120 countries worldwide providing high quality education.

I mailed Dr. Simon Kuttner, asking for an appointment to get his guidance on how to proceed with the setting up of this school. I impatiently waited for an email response and every hour, I refreshed my mail box to check if there was a reply.

The next day, I got lucky. I got a reply from Dr. Simon Kuttner with an appointment to visit him the next evening. I was so excited.

The narrow, artistic entrance of Freie Hochschule Stuttgart School and Waldorf Teacher’s College opened in front of me. It was a ‘dream come true’ moment. Our first step towards our lofty goal of providing high quality education was getting close. I strongly believe that if you aspire for anything in your life, you have to try your level best. Then, all of nature will come together in an unmatchable force for your pure intentions to manifest and you will reach your goal.

Dr. Kuttner was sitting under a tree waiting for me. He said that he feared I would get lost on the big campus. And so to make things easy for me, he was sitting and waiting at the entrance. My heart instantly warmed up and I was getting sure of the value of the education that we sought to provide.

Dr. Kuttner heads the International Master’s program for Teachers training in Waldorf education. He is friendly and open.

He asked quite a few questions and enquired into our intentions of starting a waldorf inspired school in Tamilnadu. In turn, I had asked a few questions and got some things clarified. Like – what is good for the kids, what are some of his methods etc.

At the end of our talk, he took me on a school tour. He showed me the students carpentry room, music room, concert room, clay modelling, painting room and at last he took me to the small old building at the centre of the school. I asked, “What building is this Dr. Kuttner?“

Rudolf Steiner

He told that this was the very First building for the school based upon Steiner’s ideas that was opened in 1919 in response to a request by Emil Molt, the owner and managing director of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company in Stuttgart, Germany, to serve the children of employees of the factory. This is the source of the name Waldorf, which is now trademarked for use in association with this educational method.

He also added that he had brought me to this place so that I could soak in the energy and get motivated to start a Waldorf inspired school in India. He also gave me the contact of the Managing Director of Waldorf Worldwide Education, Berlin. Further, he promised his full support to me in answering all our queries regarding setting up the school in Tamilnadu.

I was moved and speechless!!

Building

I just sat the first old building for some time after Dr. Kuttner left and two children were playing around me happily. I felt light and happy at the sight.

Somewhere in my heart, I got strong belief that this scene will play out again before my eyes when we setup own school in Tamilnadu.

I strongly believe that if you aspire for anything in your life, you have to try your level best. Then, all of nature will come together in an unmatchable force for your pure intentions to manifest and you will reach your goal. Am I right?

Watch this space for reading about Ingress’ next step – meeting the Managing Director of Waldorf Worldwide Education, Berlin, Germany.

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