CREATING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
Community will be a crucial place for the teachers and children to observe and also participate in some of the activities. For a few days the process will be reversed by teachers visiting the community instead of children going to school. True learning can only happen when the knower is directly involved in the process of knowing. Therefore experiencing the immediate environment becomes absolutely necessary for the child.
Cognitive spaces will be created for children where they can observe and experience processes which are the very foundation of human life. Activities such as cooking, farming, house building, stitching, carpentry, bamboo craft, black smithy, etc will be an integrated part of learning inside and outside school.
- RESPECTING THE CHILD: This will be achieved by removing all conditions that comes in the way of freedom so that children are free to do what they feel like. Non authoritarian practices will be introduced at all levels (principal, teachers, aayas and students) which would inculcate mutual respect. Democratic practices will be encouraged while taking decisions concerning children by involving them in the process. This will be done in a very informal and natural way.
- AMBIENCE: The ambience of the school will be nurtured with great sensitivity and care. The ambience will be informal, spontaneous and the one that holds the freedom to act, express and experiment.
- RE ORIENTING TEACHERS:
Teachers need to be reoriented as learners so that they can assist children in their natural learning process. Several years of traditional/factory schooling system has conditioned the role of a teacher that involves controlling, punishing, rewarding, etc,.
For that reason, now teachers will need to observe what children learn and how they learn in a condition where they are set free. For children, playing is learning. So teachers will have to understand how to create a proper environment for children where they can experience the world through playing.
Exposing the teachers to understand about learning processes happening in the community.
Reflection will play an important role in the process of seeing and understanding. Reflection Practice is the activity of quieting the mind and body to allow for reflection to happen. Reflection will consist of each day’s, week’s and month’s event to insure constant learning and growth of the teachers.
There is a need to sensitize teachers which will help them reawaken their own senses and learn how learning takes place in nature.
By conducting workshops to regain/sharpen the observation skills of the teachers so that they in turn can work with children sharpening their senses.
Teachers will be encouraged to pursue their own interests so that they too can regain their quality of learning
Exposing the teachers to observe the learning processes happening in the community
Documentation: Teachers will be given training to observe and document all the activities of the children as well as keep a record of their own learning.
- RE ORIENTING PARENTS AND COMMUNITY: Schooling has been successful in creating a sense of inferiority amongst the people of non literate rural communities. People of these rural communities need to regain their self-respect by valuing their own wisdom knowledge about sustainability, recycling and traditional medicinal knowledge. Educated and well known people who respect the indigenous knowledge will be invited to interact with the community people and reaffirm their knowledge on these crucial issues.
- CONTENT or FOUNDATION:
- INDEPENDENT PLAY. As play enables the awakening of the values, cognitive skills, social skills and understanding of their environment, children will be given ample opportunity for independent play.
- AWAKENING THE SENSES Children are already engaging with the outside world if they are given the freedom. Therefore this only needs to be encouraged by providing them with more freedom and opportunity.
- DRAWING: Observation can be enhanced by encouraging and exposing children to observation drawing. An artist with good skills will be invited to come and draw from observation once a week.
- MUSIC: Sensitivity towards hearing can be enhanced by just listening to good music. A classical singer will be invited to come and perform (practice) at the school once a week. It will involve no teaching but just exposing children to music.
- DANCE: Children will be exposed to a classical dance performance every week.
- COOKING: Observation of children can be enhanced by getting involved in the process of cooking. The kitchen in the school could be a great learning place for children exposing them to different kinds of smells, color and taste.
- COMMUNITY: Children’s bond with their community can also be strengthened and retained by creating more space for sharing and spending time in their community.
- LANGUAGE (ENGLISH). A more natural way to learn or get familiar with language is through hearing, speaking, reading and writing. Teachers will sensitively introduce words of English as against Marathi words commonly used by children. This whole process will be documented and teachers will continue to add new words which will have relevance in context to the experience of children.
- LANGUAGE: (Marathi) Children will be respected and encouraged to speak and express in their mother tongue (Marathi) despite of going to an English medium school. In fact the foundation of their mother language will be strengthened and made stronger.
- SCIENCE AND MATH: Whatever is taking place inside and outside the child constitutes science. Children are in communion with the science in nature. Children are naturally making sense of the world around. In this process their natural sense of process ,space, measurement, number etc are drawn out
- Children will be encouraged to observe and document that are happening in nature WHICH CAN DRAW OUT THEIR NATURAL SENSE FOR SPACE, QUANITITY, process etc
- REFLECTION: As children will be too young to express their reflections in writing, they will be free to speak out or draw some of the aspects of what they have been observing or experiencing. This can either take place in the morning as children arrive at school or in the late afternoon by the teachers or parents back home. The structure of this reflection process will be mainly informal.
- STATE SYLABUS: Maharashtra Board provides enough scope for experimentation since there are no examinations till 8th standard and therefore the pressure on teachers is also comparatively less. Proper consideration will be given to whatever is ‘prescribed’ by the board sensitively.
- TECHNOLOGY: Tools that would enhance observation and documentation will be used.
- RESEARCH: Research with only be initiated with people who have an in-depth understanding and knowledge of their respective subjects (Maths, science, etc,.). Their role will be to observe and help children identify how they are engaging and experiencing the mathematical and scientific laws in nature.
- LEARNING ABOUT LEARNING:
The most important and interesting aspect of this project is that all the people who are involved here will be initiated to learn more about learning. A constant mutual learning environment is created for children as well as teachers with freedom as the basis to learn.