Going beyond the curriculum
A school as a separate entity, preoccupied only with its goals of exams and studies can actually become stagnant and lacking in creativity and innovation. We can foster a dynamic vibrancy in ourselves only when we share our creative work with others and also constantly evolve and learn from other individuals and schools/organizations, including from our own new projects.
Education for children is largely caught up in a mechanical paradigm. Factory schools, where uniforms and uniform learning happens are the norm; standardized testing with very little opportunities to unfold with one’s unique gifts and strengths are depressing and an authoritarian system often instills fear and stress in children (and even parents).
Given that the board exams have become an almost inevitable requirement in school education worldwide, how can we enliven the world of children and schools? We believe that if our intent is strong enough and if we go beyond a commercial orientation in a school, we can find ways to create vibrant spaces.
Real Life Projects
Students, especially in the middle and high school actively participate in projects such as
- Rejuvenating the HadoSiddapura lake near the school
- Current issues concerning food and health
- A Crafts Mela - to understand the importance of crafts as a major livelihood provider in India
- Creating a pond eco-system
- Earth citizenship
- Projects on Food
Participate in the Earthian Award organized by the AzimPremji Foundation
Prakriya children have participated through submission papers and projects in this activity which involves about a 1000 schools in India and have won one or two awards in each of the 4 years they participated.
Green Wisdom Classes
These sessions for are available to students of class 8, 9 and 10, where they are given opportunities to go beyond the text book, work with the burning issue that is relevant to them and the context that they are in – eg. gender discrimination and social injustice to farmer suicides and climate change: Through discussions, reflection time, bringing in experts, through ted talks, theatre work, relevant videos/presentations. Some of the themes children have worked with in the past are - Impact of ads on self image; Understanding the impact of development on natural resources, with special focus on water and lakes of Bangalore; Impact of development, lifestyle choices and waste on the environment; What is schooling for?
Art and Craft Activities
Craft involves the head, heart and hands – they give us the joy of creativity and settle and de-stress the child – especially when many parts of the curriculum are not of great interest to the child! For the younger children, craft can improve their concentration.
We also invite a few crafts people every year to share their work and practice with our children. Children then also get sensitized to the fact that craft is the second largest provider of employment in India – and hence a way to connect to the reality of the world of crafts and craftsmen.