Radha-Govinda school opened at the beginning of September 2013 on Govindadwipa, in county Fermanagh. At the start of the school year, the children ranged between the ages of three to four and a half years old.
The devotees living there had long desired to have a school where the children could learn the rudiments of the Krishna consciousness philosophy and practice as well as the usual academic curriculum, so they formed a board of parents and teachers, found suitable premises and pooled their funds together to start it. In very little time, they have achieved wonders through cooperation and Krishna’s mercy.
While Krishna consciousness pervades the whole syllabus and is reflected in many practical applications, we use the Montessori methodology as a structure to work from. This method is based on Dr Montessori’s scientific observation of the child’s almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge from his surroundings.
On this ground, the children’s environment is carefully prepared to allow them to learn at their own speed, according to their own capabilities, in a non-competitive atmosphere and with mixed age groups.
We start the day by going to a nine o’clock Deity Greeting (especially organised by the temple authorities for such young children to be able to attend). Later the children discuss Their Lordships’ outfits and paraphernalia of the day; in that way they are becoming gradually more conscious of Sri-Sri Radha-Govinda.
After that, we go to the school buildings where the children first offer their obeisance to the school’s picture Deities, then to each others. Next we chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra for ten minutes and learn and recite verses from the Sastras. At the moment they are learning slokas from the Bhagavad-Gita as it is. We discuss the meaning of the verse in a way adapted to their age and understanding and they colour a related picture.
To date they have learnt about 25 Sanskrit slokas. Each day we also view a picture from an illustrated Bhagavad-Gita and discuss the themes or concepts encapsulated therein.
After their sadhana, the children work individually or in pairs on work of their choice or are being individually presented with some new concept by one of the teachers. The work is divided into different sections and incarnated into the Montessori materials: Practical life, Sensorial, Arithmetic, Language and Cultural.
Practical life means learning to take care of themselves (doing up buttons, zips, etc; washing hands, cutting fruits, washing a table, etc.), learning to take care of their environment (dusting, polishing, sweeping, washing cloth, etc.), learning to control their movements and practicing courtesy towards others.
Sensorial means using their five senses to learn about weight, length, shapes, etc.
Cultural includes simple geography, science, art, and a concept of past, present and future
Arithmetic consists of exploring and learning about the decimal system. The children will understand the concepts by manipulating concrete materials…leading to the abstract.
Language includes Krishna conscious poetry, songs, stories from the shastras, conversation, reading and writing.
If you have any questions about the school you are welcome to contact Moksha-rupa Mataji at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you are interested in helping to support this project that would be very welcome.