Children are sensitive, open-minded, and vulnerable. They need to be shown ways and means to gather knowledge and understanding, and learn for themselves. And since learning is associated with space (both internal and external), at The Peepal Grove School, we include experiences like outdoor classes, bird-watching, trekking, painting outdoors (instead of only within the four walls of the classroom) all of which we feel are crucial to the growth of young minds. Here teachers play the role of friendly guides who inspire students through dialogue and discussion, instead of ‘spoon-feeding’ them.
That this vision, of learning how to live and learn together in harmony, will be taken forward into the future, I have, or rather, we have no doubt. The younger generation of both teachers and administrators have participated in several dialogues and training programmes where they have learnt that to live the philosophy is more important than mere verbal communication.
De-learning or de-conditioning is an important part of what the guides/teachers learn and this is how they stay open to learning new ideas. I am confident that the ideas I have about education will be taken forward organically and not just seen as a ‘mission statement’ to follow. My younger associates who will see the school forward are like students themselves in their desire for learning and personal growth. They are to a great extent successful in bringing young minds together under the Peepal trees that grow abundantly in our campus.
The author is a social activist and a crusader for inter-religious harmony. He has started a free school for under-privileged children (Satsang Vidyalaya), the Manav Ekta Mission and The Peepal Grove School (a fully residential boarding school) all under the aegis of The Satsang Foundation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.