Realising Shibumi’s intent as an educational process is an ongoing exploration. There are fundamental truths that are the basis of the whole movement of learning.
Fear cannot be the foundation of learning. Neither can competition and comparison; nor can reward and punishment.
Our concerns are:
- To convey a sense of the richness and vastness of the whole movement of the world as well as the freshness of each day and the life around us.
- To help the learner to have quietness and a meditative quality.
- To see that the learner is in an environment of nurturing, care and love.
- To convey a sense of freedom to every learner and make him/her understand the responsibility that goes with it.
- All aspects of a learner’s growth are valuable and not just any one area.
It is essential that all learners should have skills. However, if acquiring skills is driven by the ambition of worldly success, then it becomes a hollow and limiting process. The acquisition of skills should follow and not precede the intelligence which comes from looking, listening, and observing, free of the directed activity of thought.
Adult-assisted self-learning ensures that each child progresses at the pace that is right for him/her. It also creates a sense of responsibility for one’s own learning from an early age.
Vertical grouping makes for healthier peer dynamics as well as help minimize comparison in the mind of the learner as well as the adult. Pressure to perform can have serious effects on the psychological growth of a child. The urge to discover, the ability to work hard, the capacity to question – these are the true milestones of a learner’s journey.
Group activities and other activities such as exposures, workshops, and apprenticeships form an important part of the programme. Each learner will be required to attend exposures and also take up projects of his or her interest. This is essential to allow for the growth of confidence in one’s own interest and skills and not in an external measure such as tests, marks, and examination results. However non-comparative evaluation of skills acquired is possible and essential to the learning process.
Dialogue between educators and children, parents and educators, and children and their parents, is an essential part of this educational process. We would like all we do at Shibumi to be linked harmoniously to the home, so that the learner, the parents and the educators can move together.
Physical fitness, taking care of the body and eating healthy food are a priority at Shibumi. Therefore dance, sports, and games, walks, and treks find an important place in the educational process. We offer healthy, simple vegetarian food.
Caring for the campus by doing the physical chores oneself brings about an awareness of the importance and dignity of physical labour. This removes the attitude of taking for granted that others are there to do the “dirty work”.
Excursions form an important part of the curriculum not only for cultural exposure but also to bring about a deep relationship with rivers, mountains, forests and the sea. Working with one’s hands and mind in doing art, craft and other practical activities is an essential part of the programme. A love for music is nurtured.
Contact with nature brings about a sensitivity which is not measurable but is essential for the coming upon a holistic quality of mind . These are times when there is an opportunity for the brain’s continual and inconsequential chatter to slow down and perhaps even end. Time to be alone and quiet is part of one’s daily life at Shibumi.