With a school that has a different approach toward education and is also visually appealing, wouldn’t you be excited to sit in the classrooms every day?
Bangalore-based NGO, Building Blocks has created just such a green haven for pre-primary children from underprivileged backgrounds to express themselves in and learn in the process. What’s better? 40 children in Coorg’s Siddapura district are currently attending this unique and unconventional school.
Here’s a perfect learning tool for your toddler to build words or towers. Check out these unique eco friendly wooden blocks here.
Building Blocks provides primary education to 840 children aged between 3-6 in its ten centres. James Ambat, the founder of the NGO, feels that children of slum dwellers and wage labourers miss out on kindergarten and are admitted directly in class 1 in government schools. Zero literacy makes it difficult for them to cope up with the syllabus of a higher level when they don’t even know how to hold a pencil.
Speaking to The Better India (TBI) about the dire need of establishing pre-primary schools for underprivileged kids, James says:
On the one hand, we have numerous international and private pre-primary schools across India where the young ones learn basic etiquette, conversational skills, writing letters, and so on. And on the other hand, are kids who spend their early years at construction sites. Our organisation is working toward bridging this gap since 2014. Pre-primary schools are the starting point of a child’s academic journey.
Known as ‘Morning Glory’, the eco-friendly pre-primary school provides free education to the children of labourers.
With eucalyptus poles hanging from its ceilings; large windows welcoming the sunlight and roofs carved out of upcycled waste wood, this school is different and how. If it is summer, the children do not feel the heat as uninterrupted breeze cools them. And during winters, the mud walls trap the heat to keep them warm.
This English medium school provides the students with books, stationery, and bags along with two meals each day. It also conducts sessions for parents to help them understand the importance of nutrition. The school follows age-appropriate practices aimed at imparting a sense of living with nature which grooms the kids in understanding the value of the environment.
Some of the methods include teaching the children about the three Rs-Reduce, Reuse, Recycle through interactive exercises encouraging student participation. The learners are also encouraged to take care of the plants in the school campus and are trained in waste segregation through practice. All these life lessons are taught with the use of eco-friendly teaching aids like leaves, pebbles, sticks, pressed flowers, sand, bamboo.
The school is funded by Evolve Back Resort (also known as Orange County). The company has a chain of hotel properties promoting green hospitality. The idea to make Morning Glory an eco-friendly school stems from the company’s principles of harmony with nature.
“Morning Glory is an initiative to create a clean, healthy and environment-friendly atmosphere for young underprivileged children to learn in. We want children to grow with an understanding of environmental sustainability and the need to preserve mother nature. This all-inclusive free school is our way of giving back to the community that has been the backbone to our growth and success,” Evolve Back Executive Director Jose Ramapuram tells Edex Live.
A group of architects has designed the school, and one of them spoke to TBI explaining how green schools are a way to raise kids responsibly.
“The environment in which children spend the majority of time has a huge impact on their view of the world at a very tender age. It exposes children to various possibilities and brings them closer to nature. And the people around are also aware that one does not need to step away from nature to create a piece of art,” says George Ramapuram, CEO of Earthitects.
Whether it is the design of a table, a window, the blackboard or the lighting system, this concept that nothing needs to be the way it is, is communicated through design. We have built it in a way that brings children closer to nature by blurring the boundaries between the interior and exterior. The windows are big, with very few railings.
As for the curriculum, it is a balance between numbers and literature; life and leadership skills, hygiene practices and personality development.
Morning Glory is a perfect blend of inclusivity, academics, life skills and a lesson on coexisting with nature!
Image Source: George Ramapuram
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)