What is DLRC? A community of learners. A community of students, parents, faculty, helpers, visitors, and anyone with the willingness to learn with an open mind.
It began as an alternative space to conventional schools and slowly built its way up with just 1 student at the start. As students began discovering DLRC, DLRC rapidly became a place to explore, giving the children the choice to dictate how and what they learned, and from who. As word spread, it made us (the co-founders) think, “are we really onto something?”
In hindsight - yes, yes we were. Summers passed by as we intensively focused on our head-heart-hands pedagogy, which reiterated and more importantly taught us that it wasn’t about following one teaching pedagogy. It was about following and incorporating several of them into developing one over-arching robust pedagogy. At the core of this multi-level pedagogy was immersion. Before we knew it, the daily, monthly and yearly plans revolved around immersing the students in hands-on activities, field excursions, and nature. It was at the centre of what DLRC wanted to be and was at the time. Through this diverse pedagogy, DLRC became a place which taught children how to learn.
And this “how” aspect wasn’t solely developed with textbook material. Through the vermicomposting pits, students learned the skills of (literally) getting their hands dirty, understanding what type of soil is needed and the type of compost and its uses in the garden. Through the biogas system, they understood another way for food to be turned into a resource, rather than go to waste. Through the aquaponics system, they understood the importance of conserving water and the many ways that water can be recycled to grow vegetables and rear fish. These features on the DLRC campus, were and are more than just name-sake sustainable features. They teach students important values and textbook concepts in a way which provokes them to also be conscious of their actions on the environment.
But enriching the students was not our only motive. We wanted self-driven facilitators who were equally invested in broadening the students’ and their own horizons. To understand their strengths better, each facilitator underwent lesson demos, interactions with various people on campus and other faculty. Often while choosing a place to work, only one’s skills are evaluated, but at DLRC, it is important to see if DLRC is a fit for them too! By having a low student to teacher ratio, with 2 facilitators per class, each facilitator can ensure lesson continuity and balance, and maximise the potential output from each class, so that in depth, constructive feedback can be provided to each student at a highly individualised level.
All these efforts culminate and graduate with each batch that passes out. The alumni pool at DLRC is talented and diverse. While some take a gap year to pick up a new skill, get a job or simply travel, others prepare themselves for the next 3-4 years at college. Each alum brings a truckload of experiences with them to college, be it local colleges such as FC, BMCC and GIPE, or liberal arts colleges like Ashoka, Krea and Azim Premji, or the top colleges in the world like Oxford, UC Berkeley. This variety in what our students do and where they reach, is what we pride at DLRC. Our alumni are the showcase of our success and while they are out there making a name for themselves, we smile at how far we have come as a school, a concept, a community.