Meet Kanika Al Diges, Early Childhood Educator and Founder of Kindilan Playgroups and Knobbly Nook Toys & Children’s Furniture 

Kanika is an early childhood educator with training in ‘Steiner Early Childhood Education’.  She has worked and operated her own facilities in Australia where she became well versed with the ‘Early Years Learning Framework’ of Australia including Steiner, Montessori, Reggio Emilia and many others. The combined knowledge base has provided her with an all-round perspective of early childhood education that; focuses on ‘play based learning’ and, draws on the ‘child’s interest based learning’ approach.

“As an early childhood educator my work in education continues in India; the land in which I grew up and experienced unbridled opportunities to play in all weather and terrain, steeped in imagination and wonder. I must admit that some of the most valuable insights I have gathered as an educator come either from children directly or; I draw from my own rich childhood for which I am filled with gratitude. My ‘will’ was nourished through home like chores and, my ‘feeling’ world was awakened by service to others. It is this kind of ‘play’ that Steiner Education encourages and, the reason for my attraction to Steiner Education” says Kanika.

Why do I choose Steiner education and what resonates with me?

Steiner’s Educational approach to Early Childhood is very deep, all-encompassing, universal and ageless. It resonates with me because I am particularly passionate about the impact ‘PLAY’ has in shaping us not only physically and cognitively but also; in shaping many of the values and qualities we develop that supports our life. The relevance of this approach is that; irrespective of race, cultures, status and preference, we can all agree that; children have one thing in common world over, that being; they engage in ‘PLAY’. Children are intrinsically programed to ‘PLAY’ and ‘LEARN’ that way.

Today more and more educationists, child psychologists, health professionals and parents, are all advocating that greater emphasis, be given to fostering ‘PLAY in early years. There is a huge body of research, dozens of books, testimonials and measurable quantifiable scientific data that argues; children’s every day should be filled with opportunities to experience rich and varied play in order to develop to their full potential.

Yet, so many of us have not understood the nature, the role and the immeasurable impact play has in the holistic development of a child.  We haven’t learnt to view that; play can be as complex as a child building a bridge out of felled tree branches or; as simple as gazing at the passing clouds, or, as active as chasing street cats or, as ordinary as helping mum peel potatoes. To the child everything they do is ‘PLAY’ and all their PLAY is ‘Serious Work and Learning’.

We forget that when a child dips his hands into mud and slush he is engaging curiosity. Perhaps, he is engaging this kind of play so that he may learn to overcome the sense of dislike. Perhaps, he is learning about the nature of his own sense of touch and that of the substance ‘mud’. We the adult must stop and observe in deep silence and; let the child awaken us to the processes of learning, being alert, embracing the courage to explore and, be fearless in the desire to learn so that we discover what we do not know.

As an educator my role is not to teach but to facilitate. Not to take control but to give control. Not to ensure children learn what I think they should but rather; support their learning as and when they are ready to learn.

As an educator it is my solemn duty to share with parents and other educators my practical experiences, academic knowledge and, wisdom gained from working with children. It is with the genuine desire to do this, that I was intuitively drawn to the idea of playgroups where; parent and child attend for two hours per week to experience play based learning, socialising and engaging in meaningful activities. The idea of ‘Kindilan Playgroups’ was born to provide a warm, welcoming, neutral space for families to become acquainted with play based learning and Steiner Education.  

In the absence of playgroups in communities it became necessary to offer a training program to create playgroup leaders. Here is some information on who is a playgroup leader and what a playgroup is.

For more information you may write to info@kindilanplaygroups.com

I also provide consultations and set-up of indoor and outdoor space for early learning centres and children’s rooms.

Outdoor SpacesDesigned to provide magical spaces for children to indulge their imagination.

Furniture & resources made by ‘Knobbly Nook Toys & Children’s Furniture’

Indoor Spaces – that foster all types of play:

Toys and Furniture made by Knobbly Nook Toys & Children’s Furniture

To ensure we have the best quality resources I launched ‘Knobbly-Nook Toys & Children’s Furniture’; developing children’s handmade wooden resources, toys and furniture. You may follow us on https://www.facebook.com/knobblynook/

Knobbly Nook Toys & Children’s Furniture:

To keep updated with my work check the links below, join and share the information with other parents and schools.

Follow me on ‘Understanding Play based Education in Early Childhood’ https://www.facebook.com/groups/910899425762427/ and keep abreast, participate, collaborate and learn.

Visit our website http://www.studiodiges.com/education.html  to learn about the various Early Childhood Education related workshops and programs.

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