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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Inspiration - ‘Alternative schooling’ - Want your child to get an education that goes beyond textbooks?


‘Alternative schooling’ is an umbrella term used for schools that typically step away from the conventional methods of teaching. Risen out of a general dissatisfaction with the traditional mainstream education system, these schools either follow a certain pedagogical philosophy, or political or scholarly orientation.The alternative system of teaching is not entirely new in India; the Vedic and gurukul systems of educations were based on the principle of acquisition of occupational skills, cultural and spiritual enlightenment in an atmosphere that encouraged rational thinking and reasoning among the students.  In the early twentieth century, people like Rabindranath Tagore, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Sri Aurobindo, Maria Montessori and Walden started models of alternative schools as a response to the drawbacks of mainstream education system.

Following are some of the many alternative schools currently operational in India:
1. ISHA HOME SCHOOL – COIMBATORE
Located amidst the tranquil surroundings of the Velliangiri mountains near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Isha Home School was founded by Sadhguru in 2005. Isha Home School aspires to blend the aspects of ‘home’ and ‘school’ with a dynamic curriculum, free from the pressures of examinations. The school claims its greatest asset to be its dedicated and talented faculty who ensure a symbiotic learning process.

2. SECMOL - LADAKH
The Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) was founded by a number of young Ladakhis who, after having returned from university, could comprehend the difficulties faced by the local students with modern education, their lack of focus and the cultural confusion. 

3. RISHI VALLEY SCHOOL – ANDHRA PRADESH
Jiddu Krishnamurti’s teachings to include developing an appreciation for the environment, art and music, and athletics, in addition to traditional subjects in the curricula are the foundational basis of this school. The philosopher founded the school in his birthplace in the town of Madanapalle, in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. 

4. SHIBUMI SCHOOL – BENGALURU
Shibumi School is based on J. Krishnamurti’s philosophy as well. The school offers a learning environment couched in the spirit of freedom and cooperation, in the movement of self-knowing through dialogue and observation. Based in the Somanahalli village in the outskirts of South Bangalore, the school does not have residential facilities as of now but intends to acquire its own campus soon.

5. SAHYADRI SCHOOL- PUNE
Sahyadri School is located on Tiwai Hill, a plateau 770m above sea level, overlooking the Chas-Kaman Dam in Pune. The school, while not encouraging competition in the form currently accepted by society, endeavours to create an atmosphere where students can excel.


6. MIRAMBIKA, FREE PROGRESS SCHOOL – NEW DELHI
The school follows the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and is located in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram campus in New Delhi. The philosophy on which its foundation is based is that each individual comes into life with an evolutionary purpose and corresponding potentialities and that educating means drawing out this potential. Respect for the individual, harmony in diversity and a freedom that asks for an inner discipline are components of the school culture. It also trains educators from all over India.

7. ABHAYA SCHOOL – HYDERABAD
Abhaya was founded in June 2002 in Rangareddy district, Hyderabad. Its functioning is inspired by the Waldorf pedagogy, which integrates the arts, sciences and humanities, in an age-appropriate manner, during the three major stages of child development – early childhood, primary years and adolescence to young adulthood. There are a number of schools following this curriculum all over the globe. Individual teachers and schools have varying degrees of autonomy in determining curriculum content, teaching methodology and governance, based on the local regulations, social/cultural environments and economic statuses of different countries. It believes intelligence has more to do with the harmonious working of the hands, heart and head, than learning by rote.

8. THE HERITAGE SCHOOL – GURGAON, ROHINI, VASANT KUNJ
The Heritage School follows the philosophy of experimental learning. It strives to provide space to be, learn and grow to all its members by offering them the freedom of choice in learning and doing, without compromising the rigour and discipline of learning. 

9. MARUDAM FARM SCHOOL – TAMIL NADU
Marudam Farm School was founded in 2009 by a community of students and teachers of different cultural and social backgrounds from around the world. It is located in Thiruvannamalai. The curriculum gives equal importance to both Tamil and English. The students are involved in activities like afforestation, organic farming and in building an intimate relationship with nature. 

10. CENTRE FOR LEARNING – BENGALURU
Centre for Learning focusses on nurturing the senses and sharpening language and numerical skills of the students. The children are exposed to a wealth of experiences, a great many of them being linked with the natural world. The projects are interdisciplinary and emphasise an exploration of the world around in various ways. Children are trained in academic and critical thinking skills, alongside the nurturing of their artistic inclinations and physical abilities. 

11. THE SCHOOL, KFI- CHENNAI
One of the oldest and most popular schools in Chennai, Krishnamurti Foundation India’s The School began in 1973 at Poes Garden and moved to Damodar Gardens of The Theosophical Society in 1979. The teachers of the school are drawn together into an exploration of the teachings of J Krishnamurti. This exploration gives rise to structures at school, the learning processes and the surfacing of new areas of work. The School is affiliated to Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations at New Delhi and the students appear for the ICSE and ISC in Classes 10 and 12 respectively.

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