Auntonomy

It began with a question “can there be higher degree of autonomy? But to give or receive that autonomy community needed to understand the meaning of autonomy.  One belief, “we can live life with far more autonomy right from the childhood” led to exploring higher degree of autonomy at Aarohi. Perhaps we need an understanding of the process of autonomy and not doubting or discarding autonomy to our children. At Aarohi we define autonomy broadly as “I can do what I want with boundaries and no impositions. Boundaries can be social, self, contextual or situational.There are various ways one can take autonomous decisions about what one learns and live the life.

Approximate 32 hours of reflection on the year gone by with Leela, Aparna, Aditi and Ratnesh. Many thoughts, churning, reflecting…we began with a question “can greater autonomy be given to the children?” Various thoughts, questions, our own anxiety, apprehensions … and why do we want to do that?  This led to exploring

  • What is the purpose of Aarohi?
  • How do we bring higher degree of autonomy?
  • What is the purpose of various elements like thought club, planning and so on?
  • Why and What Planning, Reflection, Documentation and Portfolio?
  • What is the purpose of teams and campus care? What kind of environment we want? And why?
  • What is the role of facilitators, guides and mentors?
  • What next and why?

For each action happening at Aarohi, we began with “what is the purpose? Why are we doing this? How else can we do that? And so on”. At the end of fourth day there was clarity on many things we do or don’t do. The whole process was like a pit stop to ponder. There was no need to reflect, as everything looked fine and working, but the pit stop to reflect brought greater degree of clarity…few things we continue, for few we propose changes, few we do differently, few we do same…whichever way we do same or differently, we do with the greater degree of clarity.

The question “can there be higher degree of autonomy” led to exploring and understanding autonomy. And as we understood more we realize that to give or receive that autonomy community need to understand the meaning of autonomy. One belief, “we can live life with far more autonomy right from the childhood” led to exploring higher degree of autonomy. We define autonomy broadly as “I can do what I want with boundaries and no impositions”. Boundaries can be social, self, contextual or situational. There are various ways one can take autonomous decisions about what one learns and live in the life. While taking decision one can decide to keep it completely open (no interventions and impositions), OR decide to do with the help of a mentor OR decide to follow a structure

The whole understanding brought the opportunity to looked into our facilitation – with this greater degree of autonomy, our facilitation needed a reflection – What all are our roles? Where do we intervene? Where do we observe? Why we want to intervene? How to intervene? How do we listen to children’s voices?

This led to need of our own learning and growth as facilitator and parents – the sharing circle once in a week came up as an idea to commit for our growth, Each week one of us brings learning for the group (parenting and facilitating) – we also experience self directed learning in our growth! This autonomy demands us also learning and understanding the children and learning, else we bring our anxiety and deprive our kids from being free from us and our beliefs. 

Schedule making was one such process where we understood autonomy apart from democracy with consensuses. While taking decision one can decide

  1. Completely open ( no interventions and impositions),
  2. OR decide to do with the help of a mentor
  3. OR decide to follow a structure

There are brief categories

  1. PROFESSION ( like doing now) – what you like doing now!
  2. EXPLORATION – Started new or Never tried
  3. SELF – Fitness, Hygiene, Food, Emotions, Wake-up, Sleep
  4. SOCIAL – contributing, caring,  care for others, environment and society.

Each one of us began with thinking  what are MY needs, an opportunity to connect and reflect make own schedule with few non-negotiable (planning, Jatre, campus care and thought club).Then in the community (during thought club), we visited our day with need and voted for each aspect of the scheduling, each thumbs down was understood and heard. The process was long, tiring but worth!  And here is the Schedule we decided together – some with boundaries, some without boundaries.

  • 6am – Wake up time (one can choose to wake up at any other time but reach in time for planning)
  • 6:30 to 7:30am susnhine for fitness conducted (one can have own fitness routine or choose not to come at all till the need arises, but open for questioning by others on fitness)
  • 7:30 to 9am – Self Learning, Your time (no restriction of outdoor activity, one can choose to what one wants to do)
  • 9 to 10am – Planning circle (compulsory for the entire community to attend – nonnegotiable)
  • 10 onwards – self learning
  • 3 to 4 pm  – Jaatre (Daily exposure of one new things via a session. Anyone can take this session. At this stage compulsory and non-negotiable. However one can question or bring changes as per the specific needs).
  • 4 to 4:45 pm – Campus care (community contribution – compulsory for all – nonnegotiable)
  • 4:45 onwards – community sports for the whole community however if anyone else wishes to play something different or have any other needs its open.
  • Two proposals for dinner and thought club (to accommodate needs of all) – Next week we try each for two days and then decide.
    • 6 to 6:30pm and 7:30 to 8pm  – Dinner and 6:30 to 7:30 – Thought club
    • OR 6 to 7 dinner and 7 to 8 – Thought club
Portfolio making was another space where we discussed – Why, How, When, and what. Some have chosen to work on portfolio weekly, while some will work once in a each term, while some have chosen to not work yet.