LIFE at Mirambika & Its Architecture

An important case-study

Mirambika Free Progress School is an alternative school, based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo, in New Delhi near IIT Delhi.

There are two schools in Delhi by the name 'Mirambika'. The school being referred here is Mirambika Free Progress School.

Official Website: http://www.mirambika.org/

A Brief Overview

SoM's urban schools' academic approach, overall structure of the school, and architecture of the building will take a lot of inspiration from Mirambika. Mirambika is the most important case study for SoM's urban schools.
If you want to imagine the overall outlook of SoM's urban schools, watch the images and videos on this page. SoM's urban schools are likely to look similar to Mirambika from the outside, in terms of natural surroundings, architecture, loving atmosphere, loving teachers and more.

SOM's spiritual focus will be much stronger and way different.

Architecture of Mirambika

Currently, the school is inside Aurobindo Ashram. It moved here a few years back. Earlier, from 1981 to around 2017-18 it was just outside the Aurobindo ashram. Due to some legal issues about the land of the school building, it had to leave that piece of land and the building. 

That building was very beautifully designed by an architect from Chandigarh, named Sanjay Prakash. The photos you see on this page are from that building.

Pictures and architectural details of the building: https://architizer.com/projects/mirambika-school

This seems to be an ideal building architecture for a SoM school/college. It is closed enough to protect students from the sun and at the same time, it is open enough to connect students to the surrounding nature.

One drawback is that dust, insects, and extreme temperatures could be a real problem. But the school has used this building for more than 20 years near IIT Delhi and that region does have extreme temperatures.

When the school was being forced to leave the existing building, the school authorities tried a lot to stick to the same building. During this process, a number of well-known people came forward to support SoM, including Virender Sehwag (a famous International Indian Cricketer).

There is a whole Youtube Channel dedicated to this cause:
https://www.youtube.com/@savemirambika3729

LIFE at Mirambika

The teaching approach at Mirambika is very unique. They teach everything through Projects. There are minimal lectures unlike normal schools. There is no fixed curriculum or syllabus. But learning in school is designed as per learning expectations for each age group. Children play and spend a lot of time in nature.
The school atmosphere is quite friendly and child-centered. There are no uniforms. Teachers are not called sir or mam, they are called 'diyas' (short for didi + bhaiya).

Loving & Natural atmosphere

Duration: 5 min

Duration: 4.17 min

More about the School

When it comes to schools, Mirambika is the most important study for SoM schools to take inspiration from. I studied it in detail from a book published by NCERT on Mirambika: https://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/mirambika.pdf

They use Project Based Learning throughout their academic curriculum. In most subjects there are hardly any lectures. Children learn everything through projects, especially Science and other subjects. For languages I think they do have lectures and classes but all their ways are very innovative and different from regular schools. They are doing it really well for modern children of Delhi. 

At the time when NCERT wrote a report on the school, it was a non-residential school of around 320 students. School got over by 3pm and then children went home.

Mirambika is an alternative school and schools like this have low strength and good Student-Teacher Ratio.

NCERT found this school interesting and a few people from NCERT came and spent time in school and noticed minutely the day to day functioning of the school. They wrote a detailed unbiased report in the form of a book, which contains not just good things about Mirambika but also some of the negative side of Mirambika, which is not very strong.

Let me share my personal copy (PDF) of this book.

It highlights many parts of the book and reading only the highlights is an easy way to understand many of the important parts of Mirambika which are especially useful for SoM. Please note that Yellow color is used for normal highlighting. Green for more important highlights.

A detailed inside view

Duration: 30 min

An Excerpt From The NCERT Book:

Mirambika has a multi-level learning system, i.e. children within a group may perform at different levels in different subjects and teaching is done specifically at their individual level (Prospectus). The school follows the project approach to teaching and has no fixed curricula or syllabus. However for each group, goals in terms of qualities, mental faculties and skills to be developed during the course of one year are decided and delineated into quarterly targets. Within this broad framework the child is provided varied learning experiences by working on projects which are inter-disciplinary in nature.

During the actual course of project work, children do a lot of activities related to the project chosen by a particular group. Children collect information, experiment, have group discussions, quiz competitions, put up exhibitions and have debates on the topics. Sometimes field trips are also arranged. The groups are monitored to provide for formal learning in informal settings. A child’s learning is paced according to his/her capabilities, e.g. a child may be performing a year lower to his/her age in one subject and at a higher level in another. In the afternoons the children are taught specific subject areas, e.g. English, Hindi and Mathematics. Subject specialists teach in small groups or individually depending on the need of the child, keeping in view the minimum learning required for a particular age group. The curriculum is not rigidly structured and is open-ended and evolves ‘organically’ i.e. in accordance with the needs and capacities of the child.

Another Excerpt from the NCERT Book: