Faculties and skills developed: freedom, self-confidence, self-awareness, self-control
In order to become independent learners, we have seen that the younger children first need to develop their foundation skills. The foundation skills in TLC include planning and reflection, social and emotional competencies, care and service, reading, writing, basic mathematics, as well the skill of learning how to learn. The foundation skills also include project work. We are in the process of adding Tamil and music materials to our basic skills environment.
Foundation skills are acquired at an individual pace, some move faster and others need more time. Once a child has mastered these skills, s/he is ready to expand learning according to individual interest.
Lessons form organically according to the needs and interests of the children, and require that the facilitator is present every day to follow the rhythm of each child. The facilitator also needs to have the curiosity and interest to have the same lesson as many times as there are children in the group if needed, seeing each meeting with a child as a new learning experience. The approach can be different from time to time as well. After a lesson some children will need a later repetition and some will not. Different children may need a follow up with focus on different things and in different ways. We want to emphasise that there are many lessons, but they evolve based on the needs of the children.
Today the world functions at a fast pace, where children are used to instant gratification. For an education that requires introspection, we need to slow down the pace. We have to give space for silence, reflection and even for boredom.
Faculties and skills developed: Creativity, independence, collaboration, organisation skills, problem solving, expression, self-motivation, linguistic skills
Baking English is a modality designed to explore the English language through the door of baking. The children need to have basic skills to be able to take part in this learning experience. The children bake a recipe of their choice and then take on three English assignments that need to be completed before the next baking session.
The assignments range over 4 categories of grammar, spelling, creative writing and research and offer a variety of “entry” exercises into different topics, and extra material for deepening on the topic, when requested by the child. Assignments are completed according to the child's own work pace. It may take a child a few days to complete the assignments, while another may need 2 weeks. Baking sessions happen independently, in mixed age-groups of up to four children. The bakery is set up with ingredients and baking utensils and children follow their chosen recipe on their own, requesting assistance only when/if it is needed. The children have compiled a set of ground rules which they follow during the sessions (pertaining to codes of conduct during sessions, hygiene, etc). Baked goods are then sold on donation through TLC’s tea shop, the Dewdrop Inn.
Tea shop –The Dew Drop Inn
Faculties and skills developed: service, independence, collaboration, planning skills, organisation skills
The children in the Baking English class provide the baked produce for the Tea Shop. All children who want, can serve in the Tea shop. This offers a real life learning experience, serving customers, running the tea shop, managing the finances, etc. The Tea Shop is open to the Auroville community.
Faculties and skills developed: deepening, creativity, imagination, self-knowledge, organisation skills, linguistic skills, reflection, independence
Fantasy, Food and Free Writes is a literary picnic which engages a group of the older children (post-foundation skills) in a full morning during which we read a novel together (a chapter each session… FANTASY), while enjoying tea and cookies (FOOD) and thereafter the children spend the rest of the morning writing according to individual inspiration. The children are encouraged to write freely (FREE-WRITES), without worrying too much about spelling, grammar etc. the aim being to encourage spontaneous written expression without getting stuck in the limitations of formal language which can hinder their flow. After 5 sessions, and 5 free-writes, the children share their chosen piece (if they want to) and then begin to work on “perfecting it”... each child works on the areas that s/he feels the need to deepen. Spelling, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, vocabulary, story structure are all possible areas for deepening their grasp of the language. Finished stories are typed and compiled into a book, for which the children also design a cover.
Faculties and skills developed: imagination, observation, curiosity, harmony, exploration, questioning, reflection
These stories are bold, exciting, and are designed to awaken a child's imagination and curiosity. Through storytelling the child is struck with the wonder of creation, thrilled with new ideas, and awed by the inventiveness and innovation that is part of the human spirit. Small ideas are introduced that gradually widen into larger concepts. Through the great stories the child sees how the smaller ideas fit together to form the whole.
- The story of the Universe and the Earth, that leads the child into study of leads to the study of areas like astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, physics, geology, and geography.
- The story of Life, that leads the child to explore areas like biology, botany, habitats, ancient life of earth, animals, classification.
- The story of Human Beings through understanding history, culture, social studies, discoveries, inventions, and the human body.
Faculties and skills developed: creative thinking, analytical thinking, order, harmony, critical thinking, problem solving, quantitative reasoning, logical reasoning, independence, perseverance, concentration
Exercises and study of arithmetic, geometry, algebra and their relationships to develop the mathematical mind. Concrete explorations link the understanding of the details that form a part of the whole. Montessori materials form a base for these explorations, offering the children their own Aha! Moments discovering the magic of mathematics, working from the concrete experience towards an abstract understanding of mathematical concepts.
Foundation skills form the base to enable further deepening.
Faculties and skills developed: creativity, organisation skills, planning skills, ability to follow through, passion
Many children wish to follow explorations in topics that are of close interest to them. Working from the near to the far, facilitators help to guide the children’s interests into rich, multidisciplinary explorations. These interests can be sparked from any topic, and can bridge the children between the different learning spaces in Base Camp and beyond. To find what sparks in a child, a close communication between facilitators and parents is very helpful.
Faculties and skills developed: hearing, listening, recognition, identification, order, harmony
Over the past years the “music slots” have transformed in a way so they relate better to the IL environment we want to create.
Materials have been made, where the children can plan and explore the more theoretical parts such as notation and music history during their IL slots, according to their own pace. The singing slots are now before the uninterrupted IL time and have a focus on “making music together” which brings forth several faculties such as cooperation and consideration.
During these slots we sing songs from all over the world and throughout the year we move from unison to canon to the start of harmony singing, as confidence and skill grow over the year. Next to singing we explore what comes up through the songs or poems, this can be history, different genres of music, geography, cultures, languages, whatever comes up can be a spark to be explored deeper, either in the group or during their independent learning .
As the group plays an important part we also regularly explore cooperative games. Some children decided to take their practice of recorder to a different level so they formed a study group for this. As also here the emphasis is on making music together, the commitment of each to daily practice is important , and should be part of their independent learning planning. This way the study and playing of multi voiced recorder pieces together become a tool for cooperation and a source of joy and progress.
Faculties and skills developed: creativity, patience, collaboration, self-confidence, receptivity
Every year Johnny and Jesse have involved the TLC children, (parents and facilitators) in a theatrical production. This is a time to dive deep into a process of developing qualities of collaboration, patience, creativity, perseverance, teamwork, cooperation, and skills in acting, costume design, learning lines, and much more. The plays always bring a sense of community, joy, and end with a celebration.
Hands on work in Fertile
Faculties and skills developed: creativity, fine motor skills, independence
Johnny is the founding father of TLC and engages with many of the children through different explorations in Fertile. Some of the main areas explored are carpentry and forging. The children can also take on their own projects, exploring materials, geometry, creativity, testing ideas, and doing hands on work in the forest. Johnny is also an active participant in our field trips and usually directs a theatre performance with the children at least once a year.
The Workshop space
Faculties and skills developed: creativity, fine motor skills, independence
The workshop space offers explorations in crafts, art, sewing, handicrafts, beadwork, weaving, stop motion, claywork, carpentry, carving, etc. Different facilitators offeri what they are passionate about and skilled in.
Faculties and skills developed: linguistic skills, confidence, belonging, community, connection
We have experienced that is is very difficult to find the right method and person to bring Tamil to the children in an engaging and meaningful way. We have developed materials for self directed learning, so that the children can work with spoken tamil individually or together, without being dependant on an adult Tamil speaker to be able to explore this. We see a need to build the spoken tamil during the age 0-6, so that the children of 7+ can be competent and use their Tamil in real life situations, on trips and when interacting with locals in Auroville or when visiting Pondicherry.
Mother Tongue Language Cafe
Faculties and skills developed: connection, linguistic skills, rooting, communication
Once weekly we offer a space for parents/facilitators to explore their mother tongues. We like to see this happen at the same time for all the children, so that the campus turns into a language lab.
Engaging in the larger community of Auroville
Faculties and skills developed: inspiration, connection, creativity
Spontaneous engagement in the larger community of Auroville is at the core of TLC’s approach to learning. Auroville is a place that is rich and alive with learning experiences, and an important part of the work in TLC is to have the flexibility to change plans and schedule so that the children can take part in that which is alive in the community. To this end, the IL mornings in base camp may be put aside in favour of an excursion to an exhibition, or a performance, or a presentation by an interesting visitor... etc. Be ready for surprises!
Faculties and skills developed: inspiration, connection, creativity, independence
Older children in TLC have the option to explore Auroville one afternoon a week. They make a plan at the beginning of the term of what they want to do, and get help to reach out to people in the community who can facilitate this. It can involve things like Auroville radio, forests, PTDC.
Faculties and skills developed: responsibility, care, social skills, community
The older children spend one week a year offering their service in one of Auroville’s services or units. Through this the children get an insight of the different areas of work that exist in Auroville, and what it means to be a part of a workplace. They gain new skills and meet new people.