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Marudam Farm School

In 2010 The Forest Way was donated a piece of farmland about 6km from Thiruvannamalai, a huge leap toward our dream of creating a place where learning and living, farming and creative exploration could unfold together naturally, as they were always meant to do. Some of us were already involved in a small learning centre running on a rented property, so we soon set about building a permanent home for what would become Marudam Farm School.

Shifting to its new home in April 2011, the school now nestles comfortably in the farm, which is beginning to thrive around it. The children are in daily contact with the land, both in their play and their private explorations, and in the production of the food which we eat every day.

At Marudam we know that all children have an innate joy in learning, and it is our job to simply care for that. We also believe that learning is best when it is contextual and self-directed, and when it engages the child not just mentally, but emotionally and physically. So we focus more on the understanding of processes than the retention of information. We give equal importance to skills of communication, investigation and practical application as we do to conventional academics. Much of the work is through projects that connect the children directly to the world and the community that surrounds them. Each week the children spend one morning on Arunachala hill, walking, watching the birds, observing the changing plants and much more besides.

SlideAt least once every year the children write and put together a wonderful theatre production, with every child involved in the process, and the joy and confidence they get from this are priceless. Likewise the value they take from spending time with visiting craftspeople and artists.

Relationships are important to us. First and foremost, the relationship of the child to herself or himself. Beyond that, to their friends and teachers, to the animals and the plants of the school, to the wider local community and on and on. The children of the school come from a very wide range of backgrounds. Through this personal experience of diversity, they are enabled to engage actively with differences while simultaneously looking past them into the heart of our commonality.

To learn more about the school and it's educational approach, please visit the school's website at www.marudamfarmschool.org