Parayavan Vidhyalaya (“Environmental School”)


In October of 2003 a series of dialogues began revolving around the relationship of societal progress and education. What became clear was that there is a vast difference between education, as we would like to define it, and ‘schooling’. The dialogues reflected upon how systems of forced learning tend to produce children who are reserved, uncreative, highly competitive and finally, under achieving. In order to make children work, stand up strait, or be quiet, rigid discipline was enforced upon them. So it seems that traditional education is less focused on child psychology and rather has a tendency to act as a police force making sure children are able to regurgitate a certain set of information. Memorization enforced through competition replaces learning. (Of course acknowledging that the reason for this is pressure put on schools by government ‘standards,’ while teachers receive inadequate training.) So the social question stands, how will these young minds help our society to progress?school3

Emerging from the dialogues was a consensus that relevant learning or learning originating from the mind of the child, ideally, should be a part of the educational paradigm. Is it necessary that reward and punishment be the means by which we force our children to learn? Or is it possible that by offering ample opportunities to experience new concepts and new ideas, and environments where creativity, mindfulness, individuality and confidence are at the foundation of all learning, that children will naturally blossom?

These discussions in which we are continuously engaged, have given us the inspiration to work with children. We believe that it is our privilege and responsibility to provide the most creative, motivating and nurturing learning environment possible for our children and ourselves.     

Our goal is to create an environment for students, teachers and teacher trainers where intelligent living is possible. A focus on dealing with present realities becomes a habit and learning an on-going and natural process.          

We seek to:

  •     Eliminate forced learning (both physical and psychological force: abuse, grades, exams, and other competitive activities).
  •     Introduce a relevant learning environment where children are presented with fun and real challenges.
  •     Move away from abstract and ‘book-based schooling’ and move towards concrete activities with practical applications.
  •     Focus on making mindfulness a part of every activity. Whether we are singing, doing a math problem or cleaning a classroom, that we do it from the heart. We will do things for the process rather than an end.
  •     Create an environment where all members are constantly learning about themselves and the world around them.

Some of our valued characteristics are: confidence, mindfulness, open-mindedness, honesty, healthy relationships and sensitivity.

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