In a world that is narrowing down human potential and diversity, where the sole aim of education is to fit people into the cogs of the modern economic machine and create people who confirm to the present world order rather than question it, the need to envision a radically different kind of education, which can question this materialistic bias becomes imperative.
With this in mind we propose an educational endeavour which is holistic, which heals rather than destroys the human spirit and helps in awakening the natural human intelligence. At the centre of such an educational endeavour would be the enquiry into what it means to be a good human being; this enquiry would be central for both the adults and the children. The whole learning – teaching pedagogy would flow from this enquiry.
One strand of this would be in helping the children to develop a relationship with nature and get them to feel the interdependencies of the living world. Therefore the natural world would form a strong component in their study programme and in particular the critical examination of the human impact on this environment.
Another aspect that would require close examination would be human relationships and the inherent conflicts that manifests itself both at a personal and global level. The humanities curriculum through the study of good literature (English, Gujarati and Hindi) would examine the role of envy, status, desire for power, formation of identities etc. History would be examined through these different lenses to examine the trajectory that human beings have taken and the varied responses from different groups of people over time.
Developing the ability to observe closely, a scientific temperament of objective analysis, testing hypothesis, good design of experiments would be part of the Science curriculum. Also a sympathetic understanding of traditional knowledge and its role in promoting harmony with nature and within communities e.g traditional architecture, medicine, water sharing etc.
A question that would be closely examined in this school would be of right livelihood and an appreciation of the varied traditional and modern vocations. In this context working with one’s hands would be given equal importance to engaging in an intellectual pursuit. A range of practical hands on courses would be offered. Discovering one’s inner calling and basing one’s career on vocation rather than ambition would be a crucial aspect of this educational endeavour. Understanding that ambition with its competitive element is deeply damaging to the human spirit would be extremely important. The school will not compare children through its assessment structure or otherwise.
A strong culture of physical and outdoor pursuits would be integral to the school. Children would engage in a range of physical exercise programs and games, hikes, cycling etc. School would provide wholesome and nutritious meals. Activities like Yoga would help connect between the physical and spiritual.
To Support the above, the school:
The core of the school will be defined by the student-teacher interactions which will be nurtured by affection and compassion and will be non authoritarian in its character and free of any element of fear. The whole curriculum will be underpinned through developing the ability of the children to think out things for themselves and developing the inward look. This includes the ability to look at situations from multiple perspectives.
The students through appropriate exposures will be sensitized to the needs of different groups of people in society. The sensibilities of the students will be nurtured by exposure to good books, music, art, films etc.
The teachers will be creative in their approaches using their initiative, the local resources, and the physical spaces of the school to enhance the learning experience. There will be a lot of scope for self learning and assessment. The teachers will also be critically evaluating the learning experiences that they create.