This small informal
school is based on the understanding that life and learning are essentially an
adventure, and the community at large is a school, TLC acknowledges that
Auroville has already acquired a wealth of communicable skills in many fields,
and anyone who has skills or enthusiasm to share, is invited to participate in
the evolving project. Avoiding the concept of ‘classes’, TLC involves the
children into the local environment, while the emphasis on outdoors and
physical activities quite literally puts intelligence into the children’s
hands. With informal ‘campuses’ spread out over several of Auroville’s
communities, TLC is presently attended by about a dozen children in the broad
age group of 7 – 14 years.
The aim of TLC (which began in 2009) is to create a space where children and adults by living and working together can grow more conscious of their inmost being and learn to know, to perfect and transform their instrument (body, life and mind) into the light of the spirit. To move from this half-conscious life to the level of integral living through a growing understanding of what is Integral Education is central to our beliefs.
We would like to establish a methodology whereby the community of Auroville becomes a real world environment to awaken a desire for life-long learning.
- We would like to take the personality integrally into the working field.
- We would like to address the aim of life not as a formal subject but as a latent question inspiring every experience. This is especially important in a time of drastic changes where it is the learners who inherit the future, while the learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
- We would like to create a space where the child especially can keep the sacred, magical feelings and perceptions he or she has naturally; and invite him or her to express and explore this sense of connectedness and feeling everything alive.
- We would like to follow the individual needs of the child as they emerge out of their experiences, next to the collective experiences. We don’t want to create a brilliant student but a living soul. In Mother’s words the purpose of education is to foster the children’s bright spontaneity that makes learning a joyous discovery.
Background of Project
a. Description of the need in the context of the location:
Auroville is an international city in the making with the purpose of realising human unity. More than 2000 people are gathered here attracted by this ideal and the Charter of Auroville. We see Auroville as a place where children and adults have access to a great variety of different environments, each having a specific gift to share.
We see the community of Auroville as a school in itself and we believe that by the exposure to these different environments, children will naturally engage in a process of learning, develop faculties, and will be able to create their own conditions for growth and happiness.
We would like to make a very concrete step towards having Auroville as the learning field and open the doors of the classrooms into the wider community, using Auroville’s richness and conscious research as our main learning resource.
b. Relevance to Auroville:
It enhances the quality of life in Auroville as each environment becomes a place where different groups, children and adults, of the community meet in a process of learning. We hope it will lead us to bring more awareness in what we do, creating a space for a united consciousness to emerge within our collective.
As Auroville is the place for research, we feel drawn to explore an education that engages us in every part of our lives and of our being.
We feel that experiments in small groups of people are also important and if successful, could grow larger. As spirituality means ultimately that every individual has his own religion, education would mean that every individual has his or her own way of learning.
Unique Contribution of TLC to the Entire Educational Sector
- Provides an educational structure that is community based
- Uses the outdoors extensively as a primary teacher
- Dissolves the barriers between home and school, learning and non-learning times allowing flexible schedules
- Caters to individualized curriculum based on specific interests and drives of each child
- Fosters the personal growth of all involved – parents, teachers and children, creating a learning community
- Promotes mixed age groups.
Future ProgressToday we are forced to ask how our educational systems can be transformed into one that is truly appropriate for our time. Since lifelong learning is now essential to survival, how can people of all ages learn how to learn, unlearn, and relearn? How can they develop skills to deal with complexity and challenges that have never before existed? How can schools that were created for another time meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population of students? Can schools alone meet these needs? In considering these questions, let us look at new possibilities for individuals, learning communities, and an emerging learning society. It is important to see that our DIFFERENCES CONNECT.
Viewed from a different perspective, individual and national differences may be seen as complementary strengths. In The Unschooled Mind, Howard Gardner notes that “we are as much creatures of our culture as we are creatures of our brain.” Cultures where most people are actively involved in the arts, cultures where academic achievement is most highly valued, and cultures where survival skills are essential to life produce populations with different skills and abilities that have been learned in different ways. Of course, such diversity exists within cultures as well.
When these differences are understood and valued they can bring people together in ways that may form the basis of learning communities. The ancient Greeks had a word for such organizations. In their “Paedeia” everyone was a learner and everyone was a teacher, and the whole community was responsible for the learning of its people. The formation of such models is essential today as we see increasing needs for greater interpersonal and international understanding. Few would question that individuals, communities, and countries must find better ways to collaborate on learning about and helping to solve critical ecological, environmental, economic, educational, technological, and health challenges. Learning of a whole community is a vision for our future.