Who we are and how we live?
Among all aspects of our daily lives, we take most seriously: creative exploratory learning in the pursuit of truth.
For life to be based on a foundation of truth, we consider holistic education to be that which not only enables the linking of all aspects of life (sustainability, holistic wellness, yoga, meditation, math, science, social-science, history, philosophy, music, arts, writing, communication etc), but also most importantly the means towards grasping a deeper understanding of all its reality.
Living together allows our relationships to transcend the usual boundaries of teacher and student. Children are not separated into different grade levels (KG, 1st, 2nd, etc.), nor do we categorize ourselves as students or teachers according to age. Thus we can eliminate the concept of inadequate student-teacher ratios which occur as a one to many mode of communication within a lecture setting, by replacing the pyramid hierarchy model of classroom management of the authority figure at the front of a group of obedient students sitting in orderly rows, with a more interconnected cyclical model, as a many to many mode of communication, fostering a new sense of peer education through cross-generational open dialog, children, youth and adults together, discussing, exploring and discovering (ie. learning) side by side and from one another. An adult can learn just as much from a child as the child might learn from the adult. The learning and teaching happens simultaneously in multiple directions across the circle. Through dialog we travel together on this journey of curiosity, exploration and discovery.
This interconnected cyclical structure is also a model for our organizational structure where each co-living, co-learning resident at Space for Nurturing Creativity takes their own initiative to participate in day-to-day activities, as well as to take on various responsibilities according to their individual expertise or interests to learn. Just as household and organizational management responsibilities are not delegated, is it not a requirement to attend classes, participate in activities or complete assignments, and so by eliminating the pressure of “having to do so” and creating an encouraging and inspiring atmosphere, one becomes naturally inclined to do so. Using our own residential school experiment as an evolving model, we are creating the evolution of new holistically collaborative, peaceful and harmonious society.
We are a household of mostly women and young girls… meditators, learners, social workers, researchers, educators, artists, writers, farmers, bringing to Alternative Curriculum Development a wide spectrum of expertise (going beyond traditional academics) ranging from organic farming, composting and food processing, to sewing, embroidery, and knitting, from classical kathak dance to yoga, from Hindustani classical vocal and instrumental sangeet to global electronic music production, from drawing, painting and sculpture to digital photography, from creative writing, poetry, and song composition to story telling and drama, from puppetry and street theater to community radio, from leading marches and rallies to citizen journalism for activism and social-change.
- To foster one’s ability to develop their innate creativity
- To foster one’s ability to develop their innate sensitivity.
- To foster one’s individual learning quest per their particular interests, foster their natural curiosity, encourage their exploration, and ultimately empower them to make discoveries.
- To foster an environment where teachers (adults) are inspired to continue their own learning, to continue to nurture their own curiosity, exploration and discovery alongside children.
- To foster children to eliminate their unnecessary fears.
- To foster children to be able to form healthy relationships with themselves, between their peers, teachers, parents, as well as others from different generations and genders.
- To foster children to be able to form harmonious relationships with nature, ultimately preventing any further long-term damage to the environment.
- To foster children to become good citizens, able to consider more than their selves, acknowledge how their thoughts and actions affect the world around them, and ultimately be empowered to contribute to making society a better place.
- To connect academic subjects with everyday life experiences, making topics covered relatable to the students.
- To link subjects together, finding the commonalities between them thus providing a more coherent flow within the larger scope of the curriculum.
- To develop models for peer education.
- To gain a broader view of question what is read in books, discuss possibilities / probabilities of reality.
- Teach handicraft and practical self-sustainable skills such as:
- To foster children to explore what it means to be human, to question what it means to be conscious
Our current and on-going Methods via Practical Experiments are as follows:
- Experimenting with various activities, discussion / dialog styles with the co-learners to develop innovative ways of fostering curiosity, exploration and discovery.
- Documenting activities and discussions with SNC co-learners to produce an outline of topics covered that should be covered with future groups.
- Evaluating co-learners’ progress and interest levels over a variety of topics, assessing their comprehension and understanding via their ability to articulate and formulate their own ideas as well as create projects inspired by each topic covered. Furthermore by evaluating co-learners’ techniques in introducing new material, in leading activities and discussions with the group, assesses the ability of their methods to foster other co-learners’ developments. Ultimately, from each co-learners’ progress, whether they are understanding the lesson / activity and able to participate in the discussion, determines whether the presentation methods are successful. Progress is not measured quantitatively (as in standardized tests), but rather qualitatively via active participation in discussions and activities, in various creative productions, and ultimately in ones ability to interact harmoniously within the collective as well as with nature.
- Handmade Magazine / Journals produced approximately six times a year, showcasing poetry, articles, stories and drawings demonstrate what co-learners have learned over the course of a season or regarding a particular subject matter.
- Drama Performances are used to illustrate what students have learned, comprehended and understood regarding a particular subject matter, especially for Hindi, English, History various life situations or circumstances.
- Parents’ Feedback is received after each child’s annual visit home. Older co-learners discuss with each parent, their observations regarding their child’s studies, habits, behavior as well as how they relate and get along with others within their family. These dialogs occur during annual parents’ meetings, at various SNC functions, as well as house visits and phone conversations.
- Daily Diary Writing regarding what one has learned, understood and felt throughout the day (which are not kept private but shared with others) are ways for individuals to evaluate themselves and their own personal progress both academically as well emotionally.
- Samvad, frequent discussions (formal and informal), regarding both academic subjects as well as life philosophies, provide opportunities for participants to share with the group what they are observing, exploring, discovering, and thus understanding about themselves as well as the world around them.
- Samiksha, critique sessions are also a way for co-learners to discuss their own discoveries regarding their individual explorations in reference to specific questions that have come up in their minds, as well as propose new questions that have come up in the process. Co-learners can also demonstrate if and how some of the samvad topics are actually relatable to our lives. Furthermore these sessions provide opportunities for co-learners to share their individual inner, emotional, and inter-personal transformations that are occurring within oneself and between each other.