By Sonal Ahuja
Director, Shri Ram Foundation Pre School
If you are a student
Perhaps you are looking for a place where you can find out what you are interested in doing, and then learn how to do it; a comfortable place, where you can socialize if you want or be left alone if you want; a place where you can find action or quiet, stimulation or peace, depending on your mood.
If you are a parent
If you are a parent perhaps you are looking for a place in which your child can develop as fully as possible, in many ways, in skills, in intellect, in wisdom, in judgement, in critical ability and in self discipline, to name a few.
Others may look for different things. Those who provide money may look for good management, efficiency, tight fiscal controls, Professional educators might look for specific evidence of good teaching of student achievement, of successful graduates and of overall school morale.
The place doesn’t feel like a school at all. Standard school cues are missing. People are not sitting in classrooms. There are no bells, no announcements on a public address system. There are no rows of chairs, no locks or lockers, no institutional bathrooms or furnishings. You are as likely to be greeted by a six year old as by an adult; you are as likely to be helped by a student as by a staff member. You look for a list of courses and there is none; you look for classes in session and you don’t know where to turn. You look for what you are USED to seeing in schools, and don’t find any.
What would a school having these characteristics look like??? What would it be like if students of all ages initiated their own activities, created their own environments, and took responsibility for seeking whatever help they needed for adults?
Such a place is expected to teem with activities. Children doing what they have chosen to do will proceed with great intensity and concentration. Some may be reading, some talking , some playing, some may be working in darkroom developing or printing photos. Others may be in a dance class, a history seminar, or in the workshop. Some may be making music, and others studying French, biology, or algebra. Children may be at computers, playing chess, rehearsing a show, or participating in some role play games. A group may be selling food that they made to raise money for new equipment.
Always there are people playing happily and busily, indoors and outdoors, in all seasons and weathers. The school should be open all day, allowing students to arrive and leave when they want. Because there is no predetermined scheduling, students are free to spend as much time on any activity as they want and to move between activities when they want to do so.
The ease with which children of all ages and adults communicate with each other will be strikingly noticeable. Such a school is permeated with an atmosphere of COMFORT, SELF CONFIDENCE, AND BUSTLE. Given the freedom to fail without censure, students will often challenge themselves to work hardest on their weaknesses.
Although there is a great dissimilarity this school has with others, such a school will develop in students many valuable tools that will prove useful to them as adults in the modern world. They will learn how to concentrate and persevere. They will learn how to ponder ethical questions. They will learn to ask for what they want and strive to get it. They will learn how to try something and relish success, and how to try something and fail at it…… and try again.
Above all they will learn how to be themselves, how to communicate, how to talk, hence being confident and resilient enough to face and also handle the worse. 2017 was really, disastrous, the cases reported, incidents that happened almost rang, to open the new windows and doors to bring the change in system as a whole. A school was always to be a place where freedom was suppose to be cherished. Mutual respect was the norm, where children were comfortable, safe, adults were comfortable, and where learning was suppose to be integrated into life at all times.
My dream school will definitely work wonders. We can stop all, that made the year 2017 a year of woes and sorrows , we can stop what is coming to us in the world. Nothing is never too late to stop what is happening.
Let’s begin to design an educational environment to examine what Education is and how it best takes place, leaving each child and an adult resilient.