Shishuvan believes that every learner comes with a curriculum of her/his own. Our school thus has an environment in which the learners find support for learning. Since,we believe that the child is not always the learner and the adult is not always the teacher; everyone participates in the building of a curriculum, in teaching and learning. The school becomes a meaningful space as the students have a say in what they wish to learn.
There is no hierarchy in such a classroom; the students and teachers call each other by first name, listen to each other with the same level of respect, learn to experiment, innovate, take their own decisions deal with the consequences and take responsibility for their own learning.
Shishuvan encourages the celebration of difference and diversity as we believe there is space in this universe for all individuals to express themselves, contribute and live a full and meaningful life.
Our students grow themselves into unique individuals through the relationships they build with their teachers, peers, their social, political and aesthetic environment, classrooms, home, books, media and all other human beings. The teacher’s contribution to learning is immense. It is through them that the children relate to the subject matter of their academic curriculum as well as to the value system that sustains their journey through life.
We look at ourselves as a cutting-edge school, rooted in Indian culture and global in our outlook. The school consciously champions Indian cultural traditions in a modern environment, with excellent facilities for imparting high quality education to the students. Core Indian values of community living, sharing and taking care of resources and belongings, nurturing the multifarious talents of the child, recognition of and respect for diversity in abilities, the appreciation of cultural differences, respect for the environment and the ethics of work as worship are inculcated in the school. The children learn to give their best to whatever they do. Their enjoyment of learning enables them to view the school as the beginning of lifelong learning.
At Shishuvan, learning is carried out through methods that are driven by the philosophy of integration. This includes regular field visits, independent research by the students and co-operative learning in groups. Subject teaching is integrated within disciplines of language, social studies, math, science, environmental studies through library research, laboratory work, art and craft, sports, music and dance to create a holistic curriculum. The teacher facilitates the learning of the students and invites other experts and resource people to share deeper insights with students on different topics. The annual day, sports day, project demonstrations, educational fair, field visits, inter-house activities are part of the curriculum and serve as forums to showcase the understanding and application of texts and concepts in the curriculum. Saturday clubs exposure gives an additional opportunity to groom their specific interests and capacity in areas of – entrepreneurship, application of science, art and craft, cooking and other clubs offered every year by the school. The role of parents is extremely important in ensuring that they understand and support the new age education system adopted by the school. Participation of parents in maintaining high standard of education and safety is ensured through parent committee forums. Physical fitness is given a lot of importance by the school and hence is a comprehensive part of the school schedule.
The school also believes that every child has a right to good education and schooling. The Academic Support Unit comprising of a remedial teacher and a team of counselors provides remedial and counselling support to the students. The school also is in collaboration with Maharashtra Dyslexia Association (MDA) to offer remedial support.
The word ‘democracy’ has its origins in the Greek language. It combines two shorter words: ‘demos’ meaning all citizens living within a particular city-state and ‘kratos’ meaning power or rule.
Key features include:
Educating for democracy provides opportunities for children to learn about other cultures and ways of seeing and celebrating our commonalities and differences. One of the primary lessons of democracy is that we can agree or agree to disagree. Disagreement, in fact, keeps dialogue alive, and leads to new ways of thinking and creative resolutions. Developing the skill of dialogue is necessary when the process is as important as the outcome. Students are taught to question the reliability and validity of didactic decisions and to offer constructive criticism and alternatives, and not simply argue for argument’s sake.
Likewise, children need to understand that there are differing viewpoints, solutions or perspectives in addition to their own. The skill of listening to others and accepting and respecting their points of view are valuable lessons taught only in a classroom that values democracy.
When teaching democracy to children we are educating them for participation in decision making. Children are given the right to participate in the making of decisions, but must also accept responsibility and deal with the consequences of their decisions.
School rules, as with laws, should be fair and reasonable and students should be guided to understand their importance and the reasons for their existence. Shishuvan students are involved in the establishment and practice of school rules through the School Council and School Parliament, as well as Circle Time and Personal Development classes.
It is not the aim of a democracy to convert people to one view but rather to seek common ground, to seek better understanding, to discover how we can improve our society together.