Approach to Child, Learning & Space
We want our students and facilitators to be respectful listeners, active questioners, joyful performers and helpful workmates.
Learning takes place in many ways and that there is no single path that can best serve all students. At TLC we place equal an emphasis on the transfer of knowledge from teacher to child as we do on an approach where your child initiates and sustains his own learning. The interests of children play a critical role both in their learning and in our teaching.
We respect the physical and emotional space of the centre, and we want our students to do the same. We hope for gentleness, kindness and respect towards each other and the physical materials we work with. Learning spaces are clean, comfortable and stress-free, with windows and doors that open out to trees and sky. Without being overloaded with sensory stimuli, the learning rooms are well supplied with materials and opportunities for active and reflective study. These include an excellent collection of children’s literature (both fiction and non-fiction), arts and crafts supplies, puzzles and games, a computer and a printer. Everyone at the Centre does everything: we cut our own fruit, wash up after eating, work outdoors planting and clearing up the grounds, and put away materials at the end of every day.
Outdoor excursions are arranged from time to time, and range from a drive along the backwaters to day-long visits to other places of learning like the public library, watching turtles hatch or the butterfly conservatory. Overnight stays in forested areas are also significant experiences for all of us. We hope to cooperate with other non-formal learning centres’ in Goa, particularly those that work with differently abled people.
Our curriculum and methodology aim to nurture enquiring, courageous and compassionate human beings. The Learning Centre is a space where students will acquire linguistic, mathematical, and scientific knowledge and skills, as well as enjoy and appreciate the arts, literature and history.
Our curriculum includes Languages (English and Konkani), Mathematics, the Humanities (Art, Literature and History) and the Natural Sciences. Unlike a conventional curriculum, these fields of inquiry don’t indicate that students will learn ‘everything’ there is to know in each subject. What we aim for is an understanding in these areas of knowledge, and the ability to work with and process a range of subject matter. A study of mathematics might entail rudimentary Bridge whereas art might encourage us to create colours and murals.
Students learn by observing, doing and listening, by discussing, reading and writing, by researching and role-playing. Case-based learning, collaborative and individualised tasks, field trips and small service projects are all part of the curriculum. We recognise that a single approach does not work for all students, and we try to find techniques that will help the individual child.
A Typical Day at TLC
Hours, days and months are human markers for what we have termed the passing of time. There may be no typical days at TLC, but there are some prototypes. These may vary according to the age, interests and abilities of enrolled students.
For example: students may start the day with stretches and breathing exercises, move on to counting or fractions, take a break with reading, and progress to listening and writing exercises. Another day might commence with music and reading lyrics, shift to the study of a leaf under a magnifying glass, and end with a walk.
Students learn in groups based on their ability rather than age. Some activities require the groups to be merged. At other times, 3 groups may be the order of the day – with a group working on their own, with another facilitator, or even planning and leading some of the learning for another group. Students play a wide range of board and card games which strengthen logical thinking, problem solving, creativity and imagination. They move between outdoor play, gardening, drawing, constructing, reading and journal writing to special sessions in music, Konkani and art.
The curriculum will be what the students take away rather than what is presented. While activities include opportunities to listen, discuss, read, write, sing, draw, enact and interact, special circle times are a wonderful way to reflect on and articulate our thoughts and feelings on why we do what we do and our relationships with each other and the world beyond.