Welcome to my world - a garden of delight

Welcome to my world - a garden of delight

Thursday, 23 May 2019  | Cherie - Early Years Educator

My Grandfather often sang a particular song, so in the musical tones of Jim Reeves, “Welcome to my world, won’t you come on in?” I invite you to step into the Kindergarten world, a world of educational mystery to many. After all, can ‘play’ really be learning?

Let me start with some history. The founder of the kindergarten movement was a German educator, Friedrich Frobel. He opened the first kindergarten in 1837 and coined the term in reference to his method of developing intelligence in young children. Kindergarten means ‘garden of children’, translating from German where ‘kinder’ means child and ‘garten’ means garden. What a beautiful metaphor for learning! At MECS kindergarten we continue to use this view as a guide.

In keeping with the metaphor, the teacher becomes the gardener: tending to the various species of plant, and making sure growing conditions are optimal for each variety - some being robust and hardy and others needing specialized care. The kindergarten teacher is a horticulturalist, having an expert knowledge in garden cultivation and management. Did you know that between the three MECS kindergarten teachers we hold 4 Bachelor Degrees, a Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Christian Education? The kindergarten teachers at MECS love to ‘garden’ and continue to learn to improve their skills and environment as unique and new species arrive.

If the child is the plant, the teacher the gardener, and the environment the garden, then play is the ‘power-feed’. It has been scientifically proven that play is the optimal vehicle for learning, because play is the language of children. True play is not about children’s free play - free play occurs outside an educational institution. This is very much about learning, but using play, true play, as the means for children to explore and expand their thinking with their whole being. The teacher intentionally creates environments and interactions to encourage skill, relationship and cognitive growth.

One understands the love and work that goes into a beautiful garden and we must give praise and marvel at God’s blue-print. At the centre of this children’s garden is God, the creator of all. Our curriculum is Christ centred and child orientated. It is interesting to note that Frobel was a spiritual man and maybe this is what influenced the garden metaphor. Christian author David Smith also uses the garden metaphor to describe education. Smith writes that schools and learners are called to become gardens of delight; places where the intellect, the spiritual and the ethical come together as a just community that delights God.

So, welcome to my world, won’t you come on in? I hope you find it a garden of delight.


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