In this series of articles, I’ll be sharing stories about people doing awesome work in field of education. They are making learning relevant for 21st century.
Ever wondered of a school of your dreams? Wherein learning is customised for you. Each child is seen as a bud and is given an environment where he/she can bloom to full potential. Meet Bandana Basu and Reena Dhila who run Shishyaa, a small pre-school in Vashi. Now, when I say a school, you must be thinking of a standard school with benches and blackboards, the students sit the entire day and learn lessons from books. But wait, this school is totally different!
Based on Waldorf Education System, Shishyaa believes actual learning happens outside the classroom – there are no books, there is a huge playground where kids can play and learn!
Waldorf education system revolves around creating love. Learning is based on age and psychology of the kid as follows:
Age 3-7: Activities to be done with hands. No reading or writing. Learning through stories (HANDS) Teacher is the textbook.
Age 7-14: Consciousness towards outside world sets in. Logic isn’t developed yet. Learning through making them fall in love with world (HEART)
Age 14-21: Logical thinking begins at this age. Now logic is taught to the kids. (HEAD)
This is how a normal day looks in Shishyaa for a grade 1 kid,
The day begins with praying to four elements of nature and singing and dancing on rhymes which are repeated for entire month. There is a huge field where kids are taught how to plant crops and play in the mud. They also are taught to cut their own fruits and share it with everyone. They wash their bowls once they finish eating. This is followed by story telling, drawing and music sessions. By teaching these things, child invariably learns basics of mathematics, science, nature along.
All types of festivals are celebrated in an eco friendly way and kids themselves make the preparations for the same.
Teaching is based on 3 R’s as advocated by Waldorf Education System – Rhythm, Repetition and Reverence.
As Ms Bandana puts it aptly, a teacher is like a farmer. One who simply works with the environment at the farm. He waits for the arrival of the season, checks for the readiness of the soil, sows the seed at an appropriate time, nurtures the soil, controls the light conditions, scaffolds the sapling until it is ready to be on its own, wards off the pests, enriches the soil with manure, while watering the farm regularly. All along allowing the plants to do what they will do anyway, ‘find roots and grow’. This he continues to do patiently, until its time to harvest.
And when the time is apt, he harvests the crop only to hand it over to the world to meet the needs of mankind. Selflessly, knowing that the fruits of his labour are not for him to enjoy. They are his gift to humanity.
PS: You can connect to Ms Bandana and Ms Reena on shishyaa.weebly.com