Ashram Paryavaran Vidyalaya (Ashram Environmental School) is a model school and teacher training center dedicated to providing a holistic, mindful and inclusive educational experience for children in the surrounding villages of Anjanisain (Near Devprayag) in Pauri District, Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, India.
The teachers of APV School collectively live as a mindful community nestled on the campus of Shree Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram in the Shivalik Himalayas. Together they meditate, farm, trek, make music, design their links-syllabus conceptualized by Anand Divedi and run the school just a quick hike down the hill from their living quarters. However most of the teachers are from both Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttarakhand, every six months they receive an American volunteer via The American Indian Foundation’s William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India.
I however found them during a search on Idealist.org where they had posted an ad soliciting a teaching fellow. At the time my Hindi language skills were not up to par per their requirement of a Native Hindi speaker. Regardless I got brought on as a curriculum developer and got them started jumping into social media.
One thing that really struck me when I went for my initial few day visit back in October 2010, was that Anand Ji was actually impressed that I had never completed my Masters of Education, having quit a little more than midway through to come to India for the first time. He told me, “If you had a degree in Education then I’d have more work to do in order to un-learn you!” He appreciated and practically expected us to be clean slates, so that we would be open to his sometimes radical ideas. His methodology for teaching children via practical methods, mentoring teachers, living in community and running a school were far from mainstream status quo.
How I was involved:
December 2010 – May 2011
Ashram Paryavaran Vidyalaya [Ashram Environmental School] (Devprayag, Uttarakhand, India)
Resident Teacher, Curriculum Development & Outreach Associate
•Member of mindful community nestled in the Indian Himalayas in Garhwal region, Uttarakhand, where we live, meditate, farm, trek, make music and run a school (of over 100 students) together.
• Taught English, Arts & Crafts, Computers & Multimedia to both students (K-8th) and teachers.
• Photographed & Video’d activities, trainings & events; including a series of Practical Math training videos.
•Designed, developed & co-administered website / trained other staff members to maintain it.
•Setup & co-administered Facebook page
•Collaborated in curriculum development towards the creation of a conceptualized by Anand Divedi.