Regional focus: India
Ashram Paryvaran Vidyalaya, Ashram Environmental School
Nestled in the Indian Himalayas, surrounded by lush, green forest and painted mountains, flourishes a small, soulful school known locally as APV. APV School was founded in 1995 by education reformist Anandji, who, after spending decades in the Indian Education system and feeling disenchanted with conventional learning techniques was moved to begin a mindful school in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. Teachers live, meditate, farm, trek, make music and run a school together.
The school is dedicated to providing a holistic, mindful and inclusive educational experience to local children by ways of music, meditation, nature appreciation and spontaneous learning.
The philosophy and methodology of the APV School springs from the simple belief that education, at its core, is not the accumulation of information but an inner evolution, an insight into the self, a refinement and deepening of awareness, and a flowering of compassion.
Mornings at APV begin with an assembly where all students and staff are present, and a teacher leads the community in a gentle nature observation and a short meditation. Soon after, children share in song and rhythm before separating into their learning groups. There are no chairs or tables at APV or sophisticated teaching equipment. Their greatest resource is thoughtfully trained teachers who have been supported and have learned the delicate technique of teaching in the moment, and truly listening to their students.
On a personal note, APV remains near and dear to my heart. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with APV on three separate occasions, most recently with my 10 year old daughter, who was welcomed with enthusiasm into a truly embracing community.