The focus of the curriculum for the younger children (ages eight to ten) is on nurturing the senses and sharpening language and numerical skills. The children are exposed to a wealth of experiences, a great many of them being linked with the natural world.
Students learn the fundamentals of language and arithmetic. Where possible, these skills are integrated into activities such as cooking, drama, music, dance, pottery, art, craft, gardening, looking after pets, nature walks, making and playing with toys, bird watching, astronomy, travelling together, reciting and listening to poems, cleaning and caring for things, building simple structures, and many more.
These are what may be called “subjects” for this age group, and all demand keen observation and total involvement.
From the age of ten years, students learn subjects separately as disciplines, although we do not limit ourselves to narrow subject boundaries. Learning takes place through projects and activities. The projects are interdisciplinary and emphasise an exploration of the world around in various ways. Children are trained in academic and critical thinking skills, alongside the nurturing of their artistic inclinations and physical abilities.
By age thirteen, the students are introduced to abstract concepts in various disciplines, and are encouraged to examine, clarify and test ideas. They learn subjects with more rigour. The teachers keep two factors in mind: that each child reaches his or her levels of excellence, and that a basic grounding in all subjects is given to each child regardless of talent or aptitude.
The senior school programme lasts three years. Students of this age (16 to 19) can be challenged psychologically, intellectually and physically. They are encouraged to take initiative and ownership for their educational programme. The programme emphasises intellectual and academic rigour, social and environmental awareness and sensitivity and physical activities. It provides the possibility for young people to discover their interests and perhaps their future vocation.
A crucial aspect of our curriculum is the dialogue class. This is a time when teachers and students focus together on the movement of enquiry and looking inward. We explore together the possibility of watching our fear, joy, anger, greed and hurt, with a sense of open curiosity rather than of judgement. In dialogues with the older students, we explore themes such as sexuality, motivation and resistance, the nature of human relationship and the self. We also have discussions regarding norms on campus and the daily issues of living together.