Introducing the alphabet
2013-01-15 12.34.17

Introducing the alphabet

2013-01-18 15.00.53
Kanhas alphabet wall

Alphabets are a complex topic.

If you really want to experience this first hand, try learning the Chinese alphabet!
The reason they are complicated, especially for a child, is that they introduce lots of new (and strange) concepts:

  1.  Squiggles (or pictures) on a page are linked to sounds.
  2. Not only do squiggles make sounds but same same squiggles make different sounds. I for Ice-cream and I for insects? Sigh.
  3. If you look at a picture from a different angle, its meaning changes. To understand this, Take a picture of a chair. Rotate it right. It is still a chair. Rotate it left. It is still a chair. Flip it over. It remains a chair. Now take the letter b. Rotate it left. It becomes d! Flip it over. It becomes p! Yikes
  4. You cant draw the pictures any way you want. How do you write your capital A? You start from the top, go down left, go back top, go down right and then cross it in the middle. How do I do it? The same way. How does anyone draw it? The same way. Do you think its natural? No! Our letter formation steps have been instilled in us by our teachers – there is an internationally approved standard on how to draw letters and generations and generations of kids have been taught the correct wayof drawing their letters. So now I not only have to remember a funny squiggle, but how exactly to draw it too. Yikes again.
  5. You have to grasp the concepts of a horizontal, vertical, diagonal line, the middle of a line, curves, spacings between imaginary parallel lines, etc. which is actually advanced spatial geometry.A simple example for this would be the letter K. Note how the end points of the top and bottom slant lie on an imaginary line which runs parallel  to the vertical base line. Super Yikes.

Little wonder then, that reading and writing must be introduced slowly and steadily, a little at a time. If children are eased into the world of alphabet, with lots of happy emotions and experiences associated with them, they will carry a love of languages forever.

So how do we learn the alphabet at Kanhas?

I usually do one letter a day – I focus on one sound for that letter. We play pictionary (me drawing the letters, kids guessing the word). We have our sound book – children stick pictures of everyday objects starting with the letter of the day in their sound book. They just love this. We play sound games. Eg. For F day, we played an action game- where I say different words like fire, fish, frog etc and kids act it out. We do jolly phonics (or adapted) actions for every sound. Eg – For the ‘c’ sound we do the scissors action with our fingers.
We write on blank pages and worksheets. A little bit of writing practice a day (10-15 min) and each child gets a star for motivation. We write on the whiteboard turn by turn. We do silly crafts for each letter. We learn our letters with large doses of fun :)

2013-01-15 11.52.49
Posing with our sound books
2013-01-15 11.16.04
Forming F with our bodies
2013-01-16 11.30.14
Working hard writing our letters – (the secret of this picture is actually in the timing 😉 )

And we connect the alphabet to Krishna. Of course, Krishna is the alphabet – (Of letters I am the letter A – BG 10.33) and the Vedic scriptures describe how the Lord himself learned the alphabet – as both Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu –
“After some days Jagann?tha Mi?ra inaugurated the primary education of his son by performing the h?te khad?i ceremony. Within a very few days the Lord learned all the letters and combinations of letters” – CC Adi. 14.94

Learning the alphabet so that we can eventually study the scriptures is direct utilization of the intelligence in Krishna’s service. But to make this connection more visible to the children, we did K for Krishna, on F day we made flower baskets for Krishna, on C day we studied Cows – Krishna’s favorite animal and on G day we did ‘guru’ and played ‘Go, go, govinda!’ What an enlivening week!

2013-01-14 12.32.46
Oh the joy in breaking petals!
2013-01-14 12.31.53
Making flower displays
2013-01-14 12.42.17
Gaur-Nitai surely look happy!
2013-01-15 12.34.17
Moo! – See our Cow puppets!

Share Social

About the Author: Shweta Shetty
Suvarna Radhika Devi Dasi (Shweta Patil) has been practising Krishna Consciousness for over 15 years now. A qualified software engineer and Bharat Natyam Dancer, she has now ventured into the field of early childhood education. She has completed a certification in child care and is applying her spiritual and academic experiences to create a unique Vedic training program for children in Melbourne.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *