Principle and passion

Madhulika Sagaram

Small alternative schools are usually started by individuals with a passion to provide a learning space for children that is holistic, natural, and in line with the child’s individual growing needs. Founders of small alternative schools are usually very passionate about child centric pedagogy and allowing the child to identify its own interests and awareness about the world and themselves. Such was the case with ABCD pre-school in Hyderabad when it was started in 1994 by G.S.Vibha with a goal of providing children an environment rooted in nature, a safe environment where the child finds a voice and the space to grow at his/her own pace. Small alternative schools and their founders develop a vision based on principles that are relevant to all life, nature, and pedagogy. Such principles are fundamental to learning and are timeless in scope and relevance. So, visions developed by founders of small alternative schools are threads that continue to carry forward the passion and essence of the founder’s work as they are rooted in the connection between life and learning.

When ABCD pre-school wound up in 2005 due to lack of succession planning, it was home to 75 children, facilitators, and parents. ABCD Home School was revived in June 2016 with its original pedagogical leanings based on engagement with nature, allowing the child to be the framework for learning and for learning by doing. The founder’s vision has been sustained by reviving it as a learning center that includes succession planning and leadership development along with pedagogy training and dissemination.

The key is to remain true to the passion and founding principles that guided the assimilation of ideas into the character of the alternative school/learning center. Small alternative schools are an extension of the home environment for children, a community where participation and comradery lead to the flourishing of ideas and a sense of overall wellbeing for parents, facilitators, or teachers involved in the learning process.

The author is the founder of Adhya Educational Society and Ajahn Center for Pedagogy. She is also the Director at ABCD Home School and actively involved in innovation in pedagogy and curriculum. She is a researcher, teacher, facilitator, artist, and development worker. She can be reached at madhusagaram@gmail.com.

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