WE at Prakriya Green Wisdom School, view education not as a prepackaged instructional curriculum that can be delivered, taught and learnt in a classroom setting. We look at education as an organic (evolving) process; our role as educators/teachers is to facilitate each child’s learning by enabling her to find for herself the……., discover her identity and define her responsibility to the larger society by making connections not only with the immediate people-centric world, but also with the natural environment.
Through live projects, our middle school children for the past two years have been exploring, learning about and understanding their responsibility towards the natural world. This year our project focused on the “Lake Ecosystems”. The primary objective of this project was to foster in children a sense of purpose beyond themselves. Instead of being helpless bystanders standing in the periphery, we wanted our children to see themselves as true change agents and as influencers.
Lakes are the soul of Bangalore. Developmental pressures, neglect, illegal sand mining have all contributed to the slow, steady and silent destruction of so many of our lakes. Our children learnt about these, not in a classroom setting, hand delivered by teachers, but through their own research and interviews (interaction?) with officials in the LDA. With the research, came an awareness build on convictions, build on solid facts and figures. [You can ask our children even now, they will give the numbers – the number of lakes in Bangalore then (1960) and now, the ground water level then and now]. With the awareness came a new learning about lakes, their role in recharging the ground water, they being homes to so many birds, plants, fish, frogs and innumerable insects.
The natural progression to this learning was an inquiry about our own, the Hadu Siddapura Lake. Equipped with binoculars and note books, a group of our own future ornithologists observed the birds, collected information, researched and documented their findings. There were also the etymologists with their infectious enthusiasm and excitement about every little insect they spotted on ground, on grass or in shallow waters Then, we had our earnest botanists who studied about the vegetation in and around the lake. Historians were also amidst us - they interacted with the village elders, community members and the Panchayat officials trying to piece together the broken links to Lake’s history.
Their journey had just begun, before long they saw themselves interacting with leading academicians and activists in the area of lake preservation. Our children also connected with the children of the local government school. To see these two groups of children interact is an experience in itself. Devoid of pretensions, children interacted simply, as one human to another. This humanness, the collaborative learning that comes out of this experience and the meaningful relationships a child will be able create for herself because of this experience… are what we are focusing at Prakriaya
By renewing, reconnecting and reestablishing their bond with the lake, our children- the artists, the poets and the song writers – vowed to protect and preserve the lakes of Bangalore, in whatever way they can. They wanted Bangalore to bear witness to the pledge, the promise they were undertaking. Through “Save the Lakes concert” at Cubbon Park Band stand they made their pledge.