What are the Principles, Objectives, Classes, Curriculum and Evaluation of Mirambika School?
Principles of Mirambika:
Mirambika has its base in the principles of learning as envisioned by Sri Aurobindo. These are: the first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught. The teacher is not an instructor or task master, he is a helper and a guide. The second principle is that the mind has to be consulted in its own growth. The third principle of education is to work from near to the far, from that which is, to that which shall be. The school aims to achieve this by providing a stress free environment of learning to each child paced to his individual needs and capacities.
Objectives of the School: The main objectives of Mirambika (as stated in the school prospectus) are to develop the mental faculties of children, their physical skills along with the psychic and vital qualities. They aim to achieve these by providing an environment to help each child make an attempt to seek perfection in all his action. They provide experience for learning through activities and to help the child discover his ‘unique set’ (personal capacities).
There are no graded classrooms in Mirambika, children are grouped according to their age. Classes are referred to as ‘groups’ and each group has an overlap of age. Each group corresponds to the class of grading and is given a name like Red group (3+ years), Blue group (4+ years), Green group (5+ years), Yellow group (6+ years), Orange group (7+ years) … progress and Humility group.
Classrooms in Mirambika have distinct physical structures. Large areas of work are designed keeping in view the needs of children of that particular age- level. Large glass windows in the class create an impression of unobstructed space and also provide the benefit for natural light and breeze. There are no doors at entrance and partitions are done by placing cupboards, blackboards or by constructing low walls.
The younger children have large spaces as working areas along with an annexe to be used for sleeping or giving individual attention to children. Low tables are used by children for sitting whereas classes for older children have tables and chairs which are arranged in a circular manner to facilitate interaction. Separate place is also provided for individual work.
Some other features of the classroom are; common cupboards for keeping stationary, dictionaries etc., individual small cupboards for each child are provided since they do not carry books from home, blackboard, display board etc. This gives an impression of children working together in small groups, connected with each other and not separated by cold walled structures.
Mirambika has multi-level learning system, i.e. children within a group may perform at different levels in different subjects and teaching is done specifically at their individual level. The school has no fixed curriculum of syllabus. However, for each group, goals, in terms of qualities, faculties and skills to be developed during the course of one year are decided and are divided into quarterly goals. Within this broad framework the child is provided varied learning experiences by working on projects which are inter-disciplinary in nature.
During the actual course of project work children do a lot of activities related to the project chosen by a particular group. Children collect information, have Group Discussions, Quizzes, Competitions, organizing exhibitions and “questioning” on the topics. Some times, experimentation and field trips are also arranged.
No tests or exams are conducted at any stage or in any group in Mirambika. The teachers decide the goals to be achieved during a specific time. In normal course the teacher plans for the week. Activities, in accordance with objectives, are also planned in advance. Evaluation is done to know how much the child has covered and what more is required? The teacher plans the child’s profile covering all areas of learning (mental, physical, vital and psychic).
The progress is measured against the child’s own record and not with others in the group. No marks or grades are given, it is taken as feedback of child’s work by the teacher to the parents. It is descriptive-non-judgemental and discussed individually with each child and his parents. In higher groups children undergo self-evaluation on completion of atopic or activity for which proforma and schedules are prepared by the teachers.