Some of the important developments in modern thought are the new, positive and liberal ideas emerging in the field of child education. We have come a long way in this field from the orthodox barbarous ideas of hammering the child into fixed moulds according to the preconceived prejudices of the teacher or the parent, to the infinitely more liberal ideals of modern times bringing to the school fresh air in which the child can breathe in an atmosphere of freedom, joy, understanding and love.
But even in these new approaches to education - which are of course in the right direction - there are many aspects and problems of child education which remain unsolved. For example we often do not seem to have any clear vision of what are the goals of child education. Some crucial questions like what are the various faculties to be developed in a child and how to develop them, and the problem of manifesting the higher nature of the child through his moral, aesthetic and spiritual powers are not given sufficient attention. The new thought in education is unanimous in upholding the value of freedom in the education of the child. But how to educate the child to make the right use of freedom for his own higher evolution and progress is a crucial problem of child education which has still not been solved completely.
The solution to all these problems requires a new psychology and a new vision of the child and man. One of the major inadequacies of modern thought is the lack of sufficient psychological knowledge, experience and understanding of the spiritual dimension of man which is the source of all his psychological energies. Modern psychology tries to probe into the laws and processes of the conscious and subconscious life of man, but without a clear understanding of the laws and truths of the inner and higher origins of man's actions. But it is only in the spiritual dimension of man that can be found the secret of true harmony and integration.
Here lies the importance of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's integral spiritual vision of education. They have given to the world an integral system of education which is based on the eternal truths of man's aspiration for perfection and progress. It is a completely new psychology applied to the education of the whole man and for the whole of life.
Based on this new vision and approach, the education of the child must begin even before his birth. It must progress from the prenatal stage through modern concepts of playschool and kindergarten, through the psychological phases of adolescence where the physical mind has to be disciplined and assured of security and love, where the vital and emotional mind has to fulfil itself by self-expression through all art forms and manifestations of beauty and harmony, to where the thinking mind has to be given the freedom to discover for itself the world of science and the mental forms of the universe, and finally to the stage in which all of them become the instruments of the spirit within.
The articles in this volume of the "Integral Education Series" emphasise the integral approach to child education which has such deep roots in the expanding life of today. We are grateful to the authors and publishers of the articles presented in this volume. We specially acknowledge the contributions of Prof. Norman Dowsett and Prof. S.R. Jayaswal who edited the first edition which was published in 1974. This second edition has been greatly revised and enlarged.
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