The Angels Haven school in a small rural Himalayan village continues to build its community with collaborative efforts and zeal even as the second wave of the pandemic hits India.
In November our farming and community library projects began and they’re gradually picking up momentum to integrate trans-disciplinary learning. During these challenging times, self-reliance through our farming activity is also bringing Gandhi’s vision to life. Learning through doing, growing our own vegetables and cereals, and sharing with others is the fulfillment of the community experience.
We are growing as a community of storytellers, story writers, and performing artists conducting community plays, folk songs, and dances. We participate in activities of building compassion and kindness for global citizenship through online contests that are fun and meaningful for both the children and adults of the community. Children have participated in poetry slams — rapping, singing, and composing their original songs about the pandemic and its effects. They also continue to make animation videos about the various activities in the community.
The online learning opportunities we provide give them exposure to many different perspectives. These seem to be a critical need of the hour for us. The children participated in the Bhoomi Project (planet Earth) recently, learning to respect our Mother Earth and doing practical things to preserve and restore the resources of the Earth. We see immense value in encouraging children towards self-directed learning and peer mentoring as primary, essential components during the pandemic and beyond.
The teaching faculty is focusing on enhancing and honing their facilitating skills with webinars and guidance sponsored by global organizations. They’re learning the art of documentation and how best to share local resources.
It has been somewhat difficult to convince the parents of our farm community children to learn through doing. For them, what their children have been engaged with appears to be more like playing than studying. So…it has been a slow process for them to unlearn the way they learned and to transform old mental habits into new ones. We are nevertheless encouraged because our experiments with Education for Life (EFL) principles have been our mainstay and they’re guiding our journey on the road to harmony and creativity in the education of everyday living.
Joy and Blessings to All!