Can a campus teach?

In the spirit of  Open campus the campus development in itself has been (and continues to be) a huge learning opportunity for us. Children, parents, local people, various experts from different fields (architecture, design, construction, rain water harvesting etc) all are involved in collectively creating a campus that itself teaches.

Making of the campus began with a thought, “Can a campus Teach? Yes, We believe a campus can be the very lap of learning 

  • if it is conceived and developed, to give a wide variety of experiences; 
  • if it offers constraints which make us think, do, learn, and live differently;
  • if it invites people to explore, experiment and engage in alternate ways.

With the above concept in our mind, we conceive, design and create buildings, resources, process to make the life at campus different from how children and adults are experiencing it at their homes.

The campus is located 3kms from Kelamangalam village, 16km from Hosur and 55km from the center of Bangalore.
Some use it as week residential (Mon Fri), some of us stay here, some comes from far off cities and stay for longer duration, and we all form our own routines. 

Often when people visit the campus, some compliment and label it as “sustainable”, some as “rural style” etc, but we would like people to see the campus as a learning system.

The Campus then becomes the teacher, by making all of us here experience living differently:

  • Teaches habits of mind like responsibility, independence, self-reflection, sensitivity, etc.
  • Teaches thinking skills like wondering, wandering, analysis, decision making, problem solving, etc.
  • Teaches living with love and affection for environment, flora and fauna, and care for each stone and each glade of wind.
  • Teaches value of wishing, working and wisdom.
  • Teaches the joy of learning and living together; Joy of  simplicity, of earthiness, and of sensitivity.
  • Teach scientific, mathematical and artistic thinking.
  • Teaches language of creativity and imagination.

Here are some examples:

  • Refilling water for the next person can make me experience care for others.
  • Solar powered (off-grid) campus  can make me experience the abundance of energy that the sun provides and understand the DC based electrical system.
  • Each building built with a different material can help me become aware of different building materials and how the elements of wind, heat, rain, trees and plants play around with each other (we do not have fans in any of our buildings)
  • Recycling of waste in different ways, like composting with chickens, Bio-Gas plant, mulching, helps me develop interdependence inherent in nature.
  • Having a common accommodation for all for living / sleeping gives me innumerable opportunities to connect with people of all ages, gender and personalities. Conflicts and their resolution thereby becomes an important lesson in emotional and social skills.
  • No-water-Taps (using a hand pump) help me experience how much water I need for my day to day needs.
  • Using all kinds of natural spaces in different ways helps me understand not just the science of nature, but also reassess my needs from a different paradigm.

Next time you visit the campus, be prepared to observe, interact and learn from the campus and its elements in many different ways.

Chk visiting campus