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BROCHURE

mirambika
Free Progress School
mirambika started in 1981 as an experimental innovative school. Innovative it continues to be, but it is hardly an experiment any more. It has proven its success in ways more than one. Year after year, it attracts an increasing number of children who seek admission – far more than we can accommodate. It has inspired several other schools in the country, which have also made a mark as schools with a difference. It has been studied by NCERT with highly favourable results. It attracts groups of teachers and would-be-teachers not only from India but from all over the world who come to observe, understand and learn something from this fascinating school, and they all return highly gratified and amazed at the way mirambika has made the ideal in education feasible and approachable.

The system
mirambika follows the system of integral education as formulated by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Integral means total: our system is called integral because it addresses the totality of the being. We seek to educate not only the body, the emotions and the intellect but also work towards making these instruments function in light of our divine essence, the psychic being. The psychic being is the pivot around which the education of the surface instruments revolve. Thus, integral education differs from holistic education in that it does not treat each aspect of education as a component, but looks upon the head, hands and heart as the instruments that are interconnected, and when linked to the divine essence these instruments reveal an amazing latent potential.

The tools of the teaching-learning process
In mirambika, children learn more by doing, observing and reflecting than by didactic teaching. Project work forms a major tool of learning. Through a single project the child often trains the body, mind and intellect, awakens the psychic being, and also learns language, mathematics and science. Hence the learning of conventional subjects is contextual, and not necessarily linear in sequence. The curriculum is not rigid, and evolves as the class progresses, allowing each individual child to grow at the pace and in the direction best suited for her.

Bird’s eye view - Learning taking place on high, out of the classroom

Exercising the intellect - Constructing and deconstructing Knowledge in the Hall of New Creation

 

We do not go all the way
At the moment, children can study in mirambika only up to Class X, and take the examination organized by the National Institute of Open Schooling. After that, the children have to seek admission to some other school. The experience so far shows that the reputation that mirambika has built up over the years makes it quite easy for our children to get admitted to a good school. But studying in mirambika does not guarantee admission to any specific school.

Are you sure you want your child to study in mirambika?
As you can see, we are different, and we think we are also better. But you should apply for your child's admission to mirambika only if you are sure that mirambika is the type of school in which you want your child to study and you too would like to contribute to be a part of this journey with your child. This would require you to spend time in school with your child to educate not only our children but also reeducate yourself. 


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mirambika's Core: Free Progress

Each of us carries something divine deep within us, something true, pure, eternal and very precious. It is this that makes life a supremely beautiful gift and inspires us to grow, to learn, to become..... most of us may never realise its existence but it is there, veiled and hidden, behind all our mental noise and emotional clamour: something very simple, very warm, very light, and infinitely loving....we call this the psychic, the divine presence individualised in us. The psychic is the core and seat of our psychological being and lives on life after life, growing through a most marvellous adventure of the consciousness.

In a free progress education, our whole endeavour is to keep the psychic flame burning in our hearts and minds, to allow our whole life to be entirely moulded by a growing psychic consciousness... and from our depths, try to create an environment which would be more beautiful, more true, more loving...

The Philosopy

The change that has been brought about today in education is a result of the continuous effort made by teachers and demands on the education system. Yet the effort has to continue and more needs to be done to make the child the centre of the process of learning. Teachers, parents and planners all need to continue this effort through research and innovation guided by a philosophy.

A total perfection is the ultimate aim which we set before us, for our ideal is the divine life which we wish to create here, the life of the Spirit fulfilled on earth, life accomplishing its own spiritual transformation even here on earth in the conditions of the material universe.

It is in effect a larger cosmic vision, a realizing of the Godhead in the world and in man, of his divine possibilities as well as of the greatness of the power that manifests in what he is, a spiritualized uplifting of his thought and feeling and sense and action, a more developed psychic mind and heart, a truer and a deeper insight into his nature and meaning of the world, a calling of divine potentialities and more spiritual values into the intention and structure of this life.

There is an ascending evolution in nature which goes from the stone to the plant, from the plant to the animal, from the animal to man. Because man is, for the moment, the last rung at the summit of the ascending evolution, he considers himself as the final stage in the ascension and believes there can be nothing on earth superior to him. In that he is mistaken. In his physical nature he is yet almost wholly an animal, a thinking and speaking animal, but still an animal in his material habits and instincts. Undoubtedly, nature cannot be satisfied with such an imperfect result; she endeavours to bring out a being who will be to man what man is to the animal, a being who will remain a man in its external form, and yet whose whole consciousness will rise far above the mental and its slavery to ignorance- Sri Aurobindo 


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mirambika - The Aim and Vision

To learn in order to know, to study in order to have the knowledge of the secrets of Nature and of life, to educate oneself in order to be master of oneself, to discipline oneself in order to be master of oneself, to overcome one's weakness, one's incapacity and ignorance, to prepare oneself in order to progress in life towards a goal that is nobler and vaster, more generous and more true......”

“We are not here to do what the others do. We are here to do what the others cannot do because they do not have the idea that it can be done.”

The Mother

THE BEGINING….

In the deepest sense, mirambika was a conscious attempt at evolving newer ways of learning and thinking: an attempt at going beyond structured schooling into the joyful freedom of inner growth.

mirambika's free progress concept was born out of a profound spiritual vision and understanding that education is the process of awakening and evoking the true being, the psychic presence within, and through that process, bringing about a progressive unfolding of the whole person.

This blossoming would be a natural and joyful process of growth and learning which would flow from within to without. Learning would then be free of structures that bind and stifle and would become more and more a dynamic process of self discovery and self actualisation.

The need for such radical change in education was being felt by many: teachers, parents, educationists, planners, thinkers... the only thing everyone seemed to be waiting for was an initiative, a spark to be lit. This initiative came about quite naturally during a teachers'annual camp at the Delhi Branch of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in October 1980. The participants of the camp responded deeply to the imperative need for a change and it was decided to set up a teachers' training programme at the Ashram.

mirambika was first conceived of as a integral school to support the Integral teachers' eductation and experimentation. A year later, in July 1981, mirambika opened with fifty seven children and ten teachers.... within a few years it went on to become a very significant experiment in ‘Free Progress' education – an education for the free and unhampered growth of the psychic being.

Today mirambika is over thirty years old, and is still seeking a more perfect formulation of free progress education. Free progress education is now possible with the growing awareness of the possibilities of guiding, instead of dictating. Using a fixed curriculum and learning in snippets is a big no. mirambika's effort to provide such education is becoming more possible and relevant. The experience gained needs to be consolidated and more innovation planned and experimented on, specially now that we have children who are going to study up to secondary school in a free and flexible national open school system.

Free progress may seem to be a difficult concept to understand, because it is something that is still in the process of being worked out. Today it is possible for us to be able to continue the effort by completing the school year in this system. It gives only an indication of the future but a future that can no longer be denied or postponed.


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“A New Education for a New Consciousness”

The young are privileged in this hour of challenge - privileged because they have whole lives before them and are less burdened by the weight of the past, because they are still sensitive to the inner voice of the psychic - the soul conciousness - and can freely consecrate themselves to an ideal.

It is from among the young, said the Mother, that the pioneers of the new world will come. To their ardent aspiration, to their spirit of adventure she has given the call.

But the better one is prepared for a challenge, the better one can face it. That is why Sri Aurobindo and the Mother considered ‘the education for the future' to be so important.

We are at a decisive hour in the earth's history” said the Mother.

What is important in educating young children is to foster and protect the bright spontaneity that makes all learning a joyous discovery. From near to far, there is a world of wonders to be explored and each new discovery can be the source of an inexpressible joy, each opening of the understanding a breathtaking surprise. If at the same time, the children are encouraged to develop their instruments of sense and knowledge, the inquirer and explorer hidden in them will soon burst forth and orient the course of their development.

The ‘wonderful' does not exclude the ‘rational' - the rational perception of the world expressing itself through laws and functions. The need of the future, however, is not an academic rationality, but a living educative process that allows the child to grasp at every opportunity, every day, the secrets lying in the unexpected flow of life.

This approach to education is not so difficult to implement if we can free ourselves from certain conventions and preconceived ideas. But it requires, above all, that we remember that the child is a soul, an expression of the Divine, and that his psychic being can guide and inspire him to find just what he needs in order to become what he is.

If given a chance to come forward”, says Sri Aurobindo, “the psychic being will take up most of the business of education and develop the capacity of the psychological being towards a still inconceivable realisation of its potentialities”.

This ‘chance' depends on the progressive freedom given to the child, so that the depths of his being may rise and manifest the intimations of his true self. (Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry).


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Principles of Teaching

mirambika Free Progress School is a school based on the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and continues to experiment with innovation in Education.

The principles of teaching which are followed in mirambika free progress school are based on Sri Aurobindo's Three Principles of True Teaching.

The first principle of true teaching is that ‘nothing can be taught'.The teacher is not an instructor or task master, he is a helper and a guide. His business is to suggest and not to impose. He does not actually train the pupil's mind, he only shows him how to perfect his instruments of knowledge and helps and encourages him in the process. He does not impart knowledge to him, he shows him how to acquire knowledge for himself. He does not call forth the knowledge that is within; he only shows him where it lies and how it can be habituated to rise to the surface... Child or man, boy or girl, there is only one sound principle of good teaching. Difference of age only serves to diminish or increase the amount of help and guidance necessary; it does not change its nature.

The second principle is that ‘the mind has to be consulted in its own growth'. The idea of hammering the child into the shape desired by the parent or teacher is a barbarous and ignorant superstition. It is he himself who must be induced to expand in accordance with his own nature.... Everyone has in him something divine, something his own, a chance of perfection and strength in however small a sphere which God offers him to take or refuse. The task is to find it, develop it and use it. The chief aim of education should be to help the growing soul to draw out that in itself which is best and make it perfect for a noble use.

The third principle of education is to ‘work from the near to far', from that which is to that which shall be. The basis of a man's nature is almost always, in addition to his soul's past, his heredity, his surroundings, his nationality, his country, the soil from which he draws his sustenance, the air which he breathes, the sights, sounds, habits to which he is accustomed. They mould him not the less powerfully because insensibly, and from that then we must begin.... If anything has to be brought in from outside, it must be offered, not forced on the mind. 


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Education to be complete must have five principal aspects corresponding to the five principal activities of the human being: the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual. Usually, these phases of education succeed each other in a chronological order following the growth of the individual; this, however, does not mean that the one should replace the other but that all must continue, completing one another, till the end of his life.

The Mother

INTEGRAL FIVE FOLD EDUCATION

School education has largely been preoccupied with mental education, and more specifically, the training of the intellect. But education, in its truer sense, goes far beyond the mere training of the intellectual faculty.

Education is a living and dynamic process and involves the whole person: the head, the heart, the body as well as the spirit. It is concerned not just with the tangible and the quantifiable but involves so much the intangible and the subtle, the incalculable and the variable.

Integral education offers a different paradigm for learning and teaching: it begins with the assumption that the learner is a unique, complex and evolving person and needs an education that accepts his-her uniqueness and complexity. It stems from a holistic and non-reductionist understanding of human nature.


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Physical Education




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Vital Education




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Mental Education



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The Psychic Dimension



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Spiritual Education

Spiritual education is really the culmination of the entire educational process. A disciplined physical, a fulfilled and potent vital, a clear and free mind and a psychic that is active in all parts of the being is the sure basis for a life constantly evolving towards its consummation and perfection. All education, in its true sense, aims at a spiritual perfection because it is spiritual perfection alone that justifies and completes life. But for spirituality to be integrated into a learning programme, a base has first to be prepared - which is the whole purpose of free progress education at Mirambika.

A Child’s Imagination

O thou golden image,
Miniature of bliss,
Speaking Sweetly, speaking meetly!
Every word deserves a kiss.
Strange, remote and splendid
Childhood’s fancy pure
Thrills to thoughts we cannot fathom,
Quick felicities obscure.
When the eyes grow solemn
Laughter fades away,
Nature of her mighty childhood
Recollects the Titan play;
Woodlands touched by sunlight
Where the elves abode,
Giant meetings, Titan greetings,
Fancies of a youthful God.
These are coming on thee
In thy secret thought;
God remembers in thy bosom
All the wonders that He wrought.

Sri Aurobindo


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How Learning Takes Place

The school timing is from 8.15 a.m. to 12.15 p.m. for Red group (3-4 year olds) and Blue group (4-5 year olds) and from 8.15 to 3.15 p.m. for rest of the groups. There is one hour of sports every morning. Children and their diyas (didi, bhaiya) are responsible for dusting, tidying and beautifying their spaces.

The day begins with meditation – a connecting of the inner and the outer, to set the pace for the day.

Project time is eagerly looked forward to by one and all. This involves a lot of experimenting, searching, calculating, developing, inventing, exploring, creating, reading, writing and so on. This can also involve field trips. They apply their ideas in an innovative and original way giving them a new interpretation.

A student may work on a topic individually, or in a group on a few aspects of the topic.

Training time is devoted to subject-specific learning. Language is not just for communication, but for expressing the finer feelings and beautiful thoughts in a sensible and elegant manner. The focus of learning mathematics is on logical training, of using units of measurement, counting and processing numbers to apply these in everyday life and finding a beauty in pattern and relationships.

Reflection time is meant for generating togetherness, openness and trust, for an active awareness of what it means to be part of the whole. The psychic quality of the child and the teacher which grows and expands helps to make the learning a continuous and harmonious effort.

At the end of the day we have concentration, and in silence we go within integrating our experiences of the day. Before we go home we have a glass of juice with snacks.

Self-paced and self-controlled learning is the focus at the upper primary stage. This naturally progresses into the secondary level and the learner is now ready to know the aim of education and that of life. Children spend 12 years in Mirambika from age 4-16 years, where they learn and grow together up to class X. Then they go on to finish school by doing class XI and XII in other schools.


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Thoughts on Curriculum

mirambika does not have a pre-set curriculum or syllabus. The focus here is on the naturally evolving rhythm of learning. As teachers, we have to be alive and sensitive to the child so that, at every point, we are in touch with the child’s learning process. Out of this process grows the curriculum. Our curriculum remains openended and flexible, always reflecting the dynamism of learning and growing. Yet, the children must learn the facts and figures that will equip them to enter what is called the ‘real world’. And these they must learn in a specific time frame. Hence, in spite of being open-ended and flexible, structure is not entirely missing from mirambika curriculum.


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Thoughts on Evaluation

mirambika does not conduct conventional tests or exams at any stage. Therefore, there is no question of grading
or categorizing the child. The child is not an object to be labelled and graded, but a living soul to be guided
and this calls for sensitive assessment both by the child, the parents and those of us working with the child so
as to give meaningful and responsible feedback.

Twice a year, the progress and growth of the child in all the aspects of his/her being, and in the group context,
is sent to the parents and the parents are then invited for detailed discussion. The stress is always on non-judgmental,
child centred evaluation. The style is descriptive, personalized, and wholesome.

Evaluation is treated as feedback and is meaningful only when followed up by concrete action by child, parents
and facilitators. Therefore, feedback is two-ways: parent to facilitator; facilitator to parent.

The class X examination earns a certificate which is given by the National Institute of Open School which affords
the learner both a standard and a certificate of having completed 10 years of education. It also provides a
flexibility to improve on one’s own performance. The two year study in the secondary school is mostly to
apply the understanding of integral learning in a more practical away, deepening the process of learning. It offers
opportunity to pursue areas of one’s own interest and experience through a hands-on approach to practical
and theoretical aspects of Integral education.


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THOUGHTS ON DISCIPLINE

The question of discipline is always crucial in any learning context, much more so in a free progress context.
Externally imposed discipline, for the sake of conformity is of no use in learning. Yet, without deeply ingrained
self-discipline, no learning or progress is possible. So, the ever continuing attempt at inner self discipline,
which implies a growing sense of responsibility, sensitivity and maturity; the very core of a learning process...
a process that demands the constant and ongoing involvement of parents with the facilitators.


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Project Work in mirambika




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CERTAIN GUIDELINES

regarding books…

A book that is loved by one child may be less interesting to another. The facilitators suggest books and additional
resource material individually and in consultation with the child/parents. At the beginning of the year, a
lump-sum amount is paid for books and stationery.

Normally, books are used only from the age of six onwards. At no point are standard text books used. Children
use the library for their reading material. Text books are available for Class X. However the consultation of different
sources and books is recommended.

regarding clothes…

Clothes express something of the personality: no uniformity, no school uniform. It is important that clothes
should not obstruct the movements of the children, especially for every day sports.

Simple and practical clothes are the best. We are very particular about shoes. We would like them to wear PT
shoes, for smaller children the type without shoe laces so that they can run freely and participate in athletics
without being hindered by stiff footwear.

For the older children functional and useful clothes and shoes dictated more by comfort and use are suggested.
Care of one’s clothes, shoes, bags and learning material is emphasised on.

regarding punctuality…

It is very important for our children to come to school on time.

One hour is for physical education, preparing the body, warming up, yoga, aerobics and then perfection in team
games, which is crucial to our learning process.

We would specially request parents joining us to keep the time factor in mind.

Similarly inculcating an understanding about and the practice of regularity in payment of fees, returning of library
books and regularity in submission of work is our constant and collective effort.


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Parents
Parents and teachers form a team for providing the best development inputs to children.


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ADMISSION PROCEDURE

Pre School / Nursery Admission information

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The Spirit of Communion - Lunch in the School Dining Hall

 

Aspiring with Nature - Children’s Offering on Thanksgiving

 

 

Contents

mirambika Free Progress School

mirambika's Core: Free Progress

mirambika - The Aim and Vision

The Beginning….

A New Education for a New Consciousness 

Principles of Teaching 

Integral Five Fold Education...

Physical Education 

Vital Education 

Mental Education 

The Psychic Dimension 

Spiritual Education

How Learning Takes Place

Thoughts on Curriculum...

Thoughts on Evaluation...

Thoughts on Discipline...

Project Work In mirambika...

Certain Guidelines...

Parents

Admission Procedure