Alternative Education - Learning to Live
Children from Sloka, Hyderabad, learning through diverse activities Life has a divine purpose and one of the most important tasks of education is to lead the student to discover for himself the aim of life and the specific role that he himself has to play in it. Since the role of schooling plays such as important part in the development of a child, holistic schools help him blossom and develop in an all-round manner, as opposed to the intellectual development promoted by most schools.
Children require an atmosphere where they can discover who they are, giving them an opportunity to recognise and utilise their energies positively. They need a environment of learning that is not threatening, where they have the courage to take their minds for a walk and ask questions; a place where they learn not only to respect each other but the true meaning of equality. Some schools that help nurture children in such ways are listed below.
Started by Rudolph Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, Waldorf education is a system that emphasises the role of imagination, developing thinking that includes a creative as well as analytical component. It is designed around the idea that children have three fundamental forces within them impelling them towards physical, emotional and mental activity. These forces have to be engaged correctly otherwise they would force themselves on our attention in less appropriate ways.
Up to the age of seven years, Waldorf schools approach learning in early chi ldhood through imitation and example. Extensive time is given for guided free play in a classroom environment that is homelike, includes natural materials and provides examples of productive work in which children can take part. Elementary or primary education may begin when the child is nearing or already seven years of age. The elementary school centres around a multidisciplinary arts-based curriculum that includes visual arts, drama, artistic movement, vocal and instrumental music, and crafts. The third phase of seven years is the search for truth. Adolescents yearn to discover the world that is founded upon truth. Waldorf education aims at supporting the children to develop their own capabilities and motivate them to become what they wish to be in their own life.
Waldorf schools in india include: Prerana Waldorf School, Hyderabad, www.waldorfpreranaindia.org
Sloka, Hyderabad, www.slokawaldorf.org
Diksha, Hyderabad, www.dikshaschool.in
City Montessori School, Lucknow, www.cmseducation.org
Tridha, Mumbai, www.tridha.com
Education was always one of J Krishnamurti’s chief concerns. He felt that if only the young and the old could be awakened to their conditioning of nationality, religion, prejudices, fears, and desires, which inevitably leads to conflict, they might bring to their lives a totally different quality. When Krishnamurti spoke to schoolchildren, his language was lucid and simple. He explored with them their relationship to nature and to one another, and to psychological problems like fear, authority, competition, love and freedom. To him the schools were a milieu in which the larger existential issues could be explored in an atmosphere of freedom and responsibility.
In Krishnamurti’s own words, “A school is a place where one learns about the totality, the wholeness of life. Academic excellence is absolutely necessary, but a school includes much more than that. It is a place where both the teacher and the student explore, not only the outer world, the world of knowledge, but also their own thinking, their own behaviour.”
Learning to create life through farming, at Sloka Some of the features of these schools are large campuses filled with natural beauty, a friendly caring relationship between teachers and students, spacious and inviting classrooms, inspiring libraries and laboratories, and a small teacher-student ratio with highly qualified and motivated teachers. Krishnamurti schools in India include:
Rishi valley, Andhra Pradesh, www.kfionline.org/schools/rv.asp
Rajghat Besant, Varanasi, www.kfionline.org/schools/rajghat.asp
The School, Chennai, www.kfionline.org/schools/theschool.asp The valley School, Bengaluru, www.kfionline.org/schools/valley.asp
Sahyadri School, Near Pune, www.kfionline.org/schools/sahyadri.asp
Paathashaala, Chennai, www.kfionline.org/schools/pathashaala.asp
Bal Anand, Mumbai, www.kfionline.org/schools/balanand.asp
(an after-school centre to which underprivileged children come for creative respite and to receive help in coping with difficulties in formal schooling)
Sri Aurobindo schools
Schools based on the principles of Sri Aurobindo strive towards the evolution of a system of integral education, of an environment that inspires children to develop the five essential aspects of personality: the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual. There is an underlying unity in all knowledge, which the artificial boundaries between academic subjects fail to emphasise. They encourage students to choose subjects without regard to specialisation or the pressures of having to choose a career. “The aim of education”, the Mother wrote, “is not to prepare the individual student to succeed in life and society, but to increase his perfectibility to the utmost.”
The centre does not hold conventional exams and tests, nor does it award degrees, but evaluates the individual’s progress on a continuous assessment of thoughts and activity. The different learning styles help children to grow up as responsible and self-reliant individuals. Respect for the individual, harmony in diversity, a freedom which asks for an inner discipline not based on fear or guilt, are components of the school culture.
Aurobindo schools in india include: Sri aurobindo international Centre for education, Pondicherry, www.sriaurobindoashram.org/ashram/saice
Mirambika, Delhi, www.mirambika.org
Started by Dr Maria Montessori, an Italian educator, Montessori schools can be found all over India. She believed that the child has a deep love and need for purposeful work. He works, however, not as an adult for completion of a job, but the sake of an activity itself. It is this activity which enables him to accomplish his most important goal: the development of himself – his mental, physical, and psychological powers.
A Montessori school provides prepared environments for children at each successive developmental plane where children are given freedom to work according to their inner urges. The child’s natural interest in learning is encouraged by giving opportunities in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Within a framework of order, eliminating the concept of competition, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities. These environments allow them to take responsibility for their own education. A sophisticated balance between liberty and discipline is maintained.
A Montessori school is equipped with more than 100 different types of Montessori apparatus, classified into Sensorial material, Language material, Arithmetic material, and so on. Practical life exercises, through the use of Sensorial material, instil care for themselves, for others and the environment. Using this material, children learn to grade and classify impressions. They do this by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening and exploring the physical properties of their environment, through these specially designed materials.
The list of Montessori schools can be found at:
Eklavya Education Foundation
In the year 1986 a company named Core Emballage Ltd formulated its investment philosophy, which simply put is that the first rupee earned will be reinvested in the company, the second rupee earned will go to the employees, the third rupee earned will go to the shareholders, and the fourth rupee earned will go back to the society, from where, in a way, all the four rupees are being earned. This fourth rupee was used to setup Eklavya, an educational foundation.
Located in Ahmedabad, this school engages the intellectual as well as the creative side of a child. Along with regular studies, children are encouraged to participate in a variety of sports, art, woodwork, various classical and contemporary musical instruments, and hobbies such as gardening and stamp collecting. The education helps inculcate among students ‘a sense of purpose’ in whatever they do and make the learning process a pleasure and adventure, so that they acquire knowledge to weigh and consider outcomes with reason and discrimination.
True education begins with knowing and understanding the child. At Shikshantar, the child and the adult are both learners. Together, they weave a world of sharing, discovering and constructing new hopes and new vistas. Inspired by eminent personalities such a s Ta gor e , Maha tma Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, and Erik Erikson among others, the teachers and students work tog e the r a t knowing themselves and di scover ing their capabilities.
The pre-primary & primary school aims at the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of the children. It follows the principle of integrated education. Hands-on experiences play a major role in nurturing the spirit of exploration and enquiry. The middle school curriculum is designed to facilitate enquiry, research and rigorous study such that young people can connect with increasingly complex constructs with an enduring interest. Dance , music, art, theatre, athletics, sports, yoga and gymnastics are all part of the curriculum to help a wholesome development. This spacious school is located in Gurgaon.
Prakriya Green Wisdom School
Prakriya was envisioned as a school that seriously respects the wisdom of nature within ourselves as well as in our environment. Children need roots as well as wings. Children get roots by relating to parents, teachers and adults who are warm, loving and strong people, people who search for meaning in their lives and live by their convictions; and wings through creativity, sense of adventure as well as responsibility for themselves and the world around them. The learning process is fulfilling, holistic and experiential.
In their early teenage years, children need ways of exploring their dreams and aspirations. For this, programmes are designed by the children themselves and by adults for the benefit of middle and high school children. Children are encouraged to relate to role-models, and explore their dreams of who they want to be. This school, with such an interesting concept, which is not often seen, is located in Bangalore.
Isha Home School
The school strives to create the necessary platform where education is not about loading the chi ld’ s mind wi th information, but about honing its mind for razor-sharp percept ion, enabling it to know life in its full depth and dimension. Founded by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a mystic and visionary, the school is located at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains , near Coimbatore.
Fine arts such as painting, sculpture, pottery, embroidery and performing arts like music, dance, drama are available to students. The natural surroundings lure students to explore and learn about the environment through hikes and treks. Physical education, martial arts and yoga are an intrinsic part of education. Students may also participate in journalism, chess, gardening, cooking, and bird-watching clubs. www.ishahomeschool.org
Blue Mountains School
This school in the beautiful hill station of Ootacamund in the Nilgiri Hills, is located on a luxur ious e s tat e wi th an English-styled house. Founded by the renowned educationist and pioneer of the Indian Public School movement, the late F.G. Pearce, the school is inspired by and based on the teachings of J Krishnamurti.
With only a hundred students in the school, it offers an extremely individual approach to learning and progress. The students and teachers live together as a community, establishing a personal relationship between them. Vertically grouped classes and the no-reward, no-punishment, nocomparison system make this school unique. www.bluemountains.org.in
See more articles on Alternative education at: http://www.lifepositive.com/articles/Alternative education
Subject: re - 11 January 2012
I`d like to send my cover letter to one of your schools
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