We have a practical, down-to-earth approach to education, which originates in common sense. Our educational program is not examination-focused at all. Learning at Bhavya is a continuous process, the pace of which is determined entirely by the individual child. It is as deep and as extensive as the learner is capable of and willing to make it. We do not assess our children’s learnings through tests, examinations or through any other means of evaluation.
Our experience over the years has shown us that when children are at peace emotionally, there are no blocks which act as impediments to learning and, hence, learning happens with ease. The interest is sustained. We see that our role as adults in 'teaching' academics is to ensure that each child encounters learning experiences which are commensurate with his level of maturity and understanding. These experiences will be challenging, yet, not frustrating. As children do their own investigating and make their own discoveries, they find that the sense of achievement, and the resulting satisfaction are rewarding enough in themselves. They are happy to have learned and eager to learn more.
This inherent motivation to learn (as opposed to learning for fear of disapproval or desire for praise) is, we believe, the prerequisite for any real, significant and sustained learning to occur. We have observed that when this kind of space is given to children, their curiosity is retained and their initiative is high. They have a high level of investment in, and enthusiasm for, any work they do. Towards this end, we have a very well-planned, organic, and material-rich, learning program at Bhavya which the children may explore as and when they are ready.
When we allow our children to devote their early years entirely to free play and non-directed activities, we find that they, in time, initiate their own learning experiences with a natural, innate curiosity and interest. We find that when they are not under any compulsion, they are intrinsically driven to do with total focus and involvement, whatever they might undertake to do.
We neither rush children nor clutter their minds with excessive, irrelevant content. Hence, they are able to achieve quality and find meaning in everything that they do.
In our work with children over the past two decades we have been steadily simplifying and redefining the process of education. We have been working on reducing the clutter which currently fills children’s minds in the form of endless pages of inert knowledge or information. Instead, we have been focusing on helping children acquire, practically and effectively, what we believe are the basic tools which will facilitate independent, self-directed learning for life:
We provide an empowering education which enables children, as well as adults, to recognize that they have the ability to effect changes within them and in the world outside, solve problems, and take responsibility for their own lives and, eventually, for the larger environment of which they are a part.
We have designed our learning program in such a manner that it allows for considerable flexibility in its manner of implementation, which is guided by the learner’s needs and interests:
At every level, we ensure that the children have adequate space to explore and develop their own learning agenda during the day with no adult-initiated interruptions or distractions. Through this freedom, they are able to explore their thoughts as they think them, express them, hear them, and, moving on to the next stage of the thought, go through whole the process again. Slowly, but surely, as they take each thought through to completion, they grow in intelligence and self-confidence. They are filled with a deep sense of satisfaction. Pure, intrinsic, instinctive and essential, this naturally flowing process, unrestricted, leaves them with a feeling of tremendous peace and accomplishment.
We question the need for external evaluation. We question its accuracy in estimating a person’s worth. We believe that each person must set his/her own goals and is, therefore the only one qualified to judge his/her work. Learners need guides, not judges. During the learning process, when doubts arise in the learner, he merely works towards clearing his doubts and confusions, clarifies his understanding of the concepts involved, and then moves forward. He has absolutely no need of a test or an examination to show him what he does or does not know. Our intent is not to show up his ignorance, but to enable him to continue his journey of learning with confidence.
Growing up in a natural environment, so close to Nature, children get the opportunity to understand and appreciate Life in all its myriad hues. They are able to make several connections through their own personal observations which help them gain a strong understanding of their world. It is this understanding that gives them the confidence and the ability to acquire many other learnings in life. Every learning experience that a child has is better enriched by his encounters in the Natural world and we have found that our children then learn with ease and joy. We have found that the more the children are distanced from the synthetic world and brought closer to the natural world, the less is the clutter in their minds, the greater is their interest in learning new things, the more they are driven by a personal purpose, and the greater is their ability to focus on what they do. We consciously keep our children away from the use of technological gadgets at Bhavya. By doing this we create a potential for a far greater development of their Natural faculties. Interestingly, we find that when children are surrounded by Nature, they do not seek these technological diversions at all.