Disha India

"If I were a poet, I would write poetry
on the possibilities of five fingers.
Those who do not train their hands,
who go through the ordinary rut of education
lack music in their life."
Mahatma Gandhi

Projects Disha India Community School-Preparing children for life through life...

Disha India Community School is an Experiential Learning school where we use real-life experiences from the local context of the child, as a pedagogic medium for teaching the required curriculum, skills and values. The vision is to create an innovative model of school education where the community takes a shared ownership for providing quality,contextual, personalized and equal education for all children at an affordable price. The idea is to demonstrate how a community can design its own education program based on its context, challenges, aspirations and possibilities, so that education is rooted in the local context and prepares children for a future that the community aspires for.

Disha India Community School, an initiative of Disha India Education Trust, was started in year 2020. The school is in village Padha, district Karnal, Haryana. At present, we have grades Nursery to Four and will add one grade every year. We have 100 students till grade 4 and eight educators.

Values that guide our school are:

  • Experiential Education. It is an Experiential Learning school where we use real-life experiences from the local context of the child as pedagogic medium for teaching and learning the required curricular concepts, skills and values. The idea is to truly design a contextual and personalized learning for children and we believe that Experiential Learning in the local context has the potential to be a truly personalized learning.
  • Shared vision and collective responsibility. We aspire to build a shared vision and responsibility with parents and community members. There is an Education Leadership Team (EL Team) that comprises parents and community members and it works in collaboration with the school management to realize the shared vision. The EL team is a microcosm of the village community.
  • School is open to all children of the village. No child is refused admission in the school irrespective of financial, social and gender differences.
  • No withdrawal of profits. The Trust is committed to not withdraw any profits from the school
  • Complete Transparency. There is complete transparency in managing the funds and resources of the school and the annual budget, balance sheet and monthly expenses are shared with the EL team and parent community on a regular basis.
  • Self-sustaining. The school aspires to be financially self-sustaining in the long run.
  • Strengthening the village government school. Disha India aspires to support the village government school in improving the quality of education, so that all children of the village get quality and equal education. This we plan to achieve through teachers’ capacity building, sharing of learning resources, strengthening sports, arts and crafts, culture, etc.

Learning design principles that guide our teaching and learning:

1.Contextual and Personalized education

The education is seeded in the local ecosystem of the place. We use local experiences as the context and pedagogic medium for teaching the required curriculum. The idea is to connect the teaching and learning to the immediate surroundings of the child. We go from near to far, concrete to abstract…It is not only about making the education contextual but also personalized by designing the learning processes around the personalized experiences and life of the child.
In twelve years of education, children should develop a deep systemic understanding of their local ecosystem and Self and this understanding should be developed not just through cognitive pedagogies but through experiencing and doing. The idea is to immerse the whole being of the child in the learning process.

2.Productive Work

We use productive work (from the local context) as a pedagogic medium for teaching and learning the required knowledge, skills and values. In our context, it is primarily farming - we use natural farming as the pedagogic medium. The idea is not to prepare children for the vocation but to use it as a pedagogic medium. It not only leads to a better understanding of the curriculum and local context but also develops a creative and abundance mindset. More importantly, it leads to the balance of head, hands and heart in the learning process. We believe that the mind learns through hands. Doing quality work helps children experience and understand the value of craftsmanship, excellence and self-reliance.

3.Free and Integral child

The big idea is to focus and develop the whole being of the child - physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual. The education process should liberate the child from limiting beliefs and structures. During his/her school education, the child should develop a good understanding of Self and also of the process of self-awareness and self-development - the idea is to experience what it takes to be an attentive, reflective and discriminative being. We aspire to help children on the journey of self-awareness and empowerment leading to a free and integral Soul.

4.Self-directed personalized learning

Curriculum and pedagogy are designed in such a way that there is a learning and development plan for each child - and it starts with personalized experience as a source of learning and development. The idea is to have a customized and personalized learning plan for each child depending on his/her uniqueness, context, pace, interests and aspirations. we aspire to design our learning structures and processes accordingly. Flexibility is the key.

5.Bilingual medium of instruction

In the initial years, we use bilingual medium of instruction. Gradually we will move to English language as a medium of instruction. We have a strong curriculum for English as a language from the beginning.

6.Diverse and Inclusive

We aspire to build a diverse and inclusive school community. We would like children to experience and understand the value of diversity and inclusiveness very early in life. They need to understand why diversity and inclusivity is important for individuals and in a society and how to build on it. Diversity and inclusivity enrich our lives in ways which even we cannot imagine.

7.Community participation

We aspire to engage and involve parents and the community in the school from the beginning - we see them as real partners. The idea is to build a real community where we take the shared responsibility of the well-being of children. Being transparent and open in our working and thinking, is the first step towards building a real community. We have an inclusive Education Leadership team which comprises parents, teachers, community members and experts.

8.Sustainable living

We aspire to practice sustainable ways of living and being in the school and community - the idea is for children to experience and understand how to use natural resources in a sustainable way.


We would like to develop a deep understanding of non-violence among children and use it as a core value and practice in building the culture and character of the institution.

Curriculum and Pedagogy

Our pedagogy is experiential, contextual and personalized. We use local experiences as pedagogic medium for developing the required knowledge, skills and values. The idea is to move from near to far and from concrete to abstract. Our curriculum, pedagogy and assessment are inspired and informed by the following

  • 1.Dr Kolb’s theory and principles of Experiential Learning.
  • 2.Gandhian principles of Nai-Talim
  • 3.Expeditionary Learning core principle and practices (
  • 4.Theory and principles of Systems Thinking and Sustainability
  • 5.Integral Education based on the principles and teachings of Aurobindo

Read ‘Disha India Learning Design Principles’ for better understanding of the pedagogy and practices.

Theory of Change -Building community schools across the country

The big idea is to build community schools in partnership with diverse communities across the country. An important prerequisite for opening a community school is that the community is willing to take shared responsibility for providing quality, equal, contextual and personalized education for its children at an affordable price. Community schools will demonstrate how a community can design its own education program based on its context, challenges, aspirations, and possibilities. Community schools will prepare children for the future that the communities aspire for. Community schools will work in collaboration with local government schools to improve the quality of education in the given geographical area. Community schools will be more of an innovative model school to demonstrate the kind of education that the community aspire for. The vision is to give a new direction to education in our country by demonstrating how community can take charge of educating its future generation and how education can be used as a process for bringing the desired change in society at large. The first community school has been started in the village Padha of Karnal district in Haryana.

Community school Educators

We hire local youth as educators, youth who are open to learning and who are there by choice. What is important is that they should like being with children. They should have a good understanding and connect with the community and are engaged in their community. As of now, there is a team of eight educators working full time in the school.