Interested in something other than mainstream education? Never fear. This list of Bangalore’s alternative schools will set your mind at rest.
School admission time can always be a bit worrisome, we know. But if you are looking at Alternative Schools in Bangalore, you’re in luck. We’ve just put together a comprehensive list of these schools in the city, exclusively for you.
Bangalore’s education system has evolved so much that alternative schools are now part of mainstream conversations. Here are 20 schools in Bangalore that offer a fresh take on education.
The Valley School
Established in 1978, the Valley is one of the most popular J. Krishnamurti schools and is constantly ranked as one of the best schools in the country. Surrounded by a sprawling campus filled with flora and fauna, the school is affiliated to the ICSE and ISC boards. They are equipped with excellent teaching staff, fantastic resources and use many creative teaching methods and ideas for engagement, including multi-age classrooms till class 4 and a variety of sports, activities and experiences.
What we like: In 2015, Valley exposed its kids to the traditional Indian sport, Mallakhamb. They are at the forefront of creativity, always bringing in a variety of activities and sports to the school.
Get more information: The Valley School
Founded by Rhythm Aggarwal, The Atelier follows the Reggio Emilia philosophy in an all-encompassing way. Rhythm comes from a family of educationists and teachers. The Atelier has now started its elementary wing. Children are encouraged to learn in an inter-connected manner. A lot of importance is given to art, design and nature. While literacy, numeracy and knowledge are important, The Atelier also gives a lot of importance to the ideas of social and personal responsibility. The children are encouraged to look at the world with more depth than regular programs afford.
What we like: The Atelier describes itself this way – “a learning environment where children and adults partner to construct meaning and explore the possible.” Students are not just encouraged to accumulate knowledge but to exercise advocacy in their learning.
Get more information: Atelier
Looking for a progressive school that has a structure and combines a strong curriculum with the freedom and the tools to think and work beyond it? Sparkling Mindz is your pick. A game-based and Reggio-Emilia inspired school, Sparkling Mindz is focused on making learning more joyous and relevant in 21st century. A progressive school that extends to grade 8, Sparkling Mindz follows an emergent and child-led curriculum.
For kindergarten, primary and middle school, Sparkling Mindz combines both IGCSE and CBSE. After grade 8, the curriculum forks into these two syllabi, and the children can choose the framework they like and that best suits their interests.
What we like: Sparkling Mindz is run by a team that truly understands education and values a child’s freedom and advocacy of his or her learning journey. According to a parent from Sparkling Mindz, “the school doesn’t go by a one-shoe-fits-all method for children but constantly innovates and tries different approaches depending on the child. They truly apply Carol Dweck’s growth mindset to practice. They involve parents where needed in changing the parents’ mindset to help the child. ”
Get more information: Sparkling Mindz
Founded by Chetana Keni, Aurinko Academy is one of the most popular schools in the city, a progressive learning space that integrates education, art, science, sport and spirituality into a flexible program that values and respects the child. The curriculum is inspired by the Co-Constructivist theory, the Universal Laws of Karma, Teachings of Great Gurus, Indian Ancient Gurukul System. and a widely researched and successful approach devised by its founders. With the school’s training, students are encouraged to take the NIOS exams.
What we like: The founder’s passion, expertise, creativity and her commitment to the students.
Get more information: Aurinko Academy
Kingdom of Childhood
One of Bangalore’s many wonderful Steiner schools, the Kingdom of Childhood is located in JP Nagar, in the heart of the city. The school follows the Waldorf methodology and starts admissions from kindergarten all the way till Grade 3. They also have remediation and support for children with learning difficulties.
The school’s website has a comprehensive plan for each grade. To understand more about the Steiner philosophy, parents are invited to their Art of Parenting workshops.
What we like: Apart from following the child’s natural trajectory of development, the Steiner philosophy values free play and gives it ample scope. As research tells us, this is a huge catalyst for learning and survival skills. There is a lot of sensory play and integration, thanks to how much time children spend outdoors and work with their hands. Storytelling, art and creativity are also given a free rein.
Get more information: Kingdom of Childhood
Shibumi specialises in hands-on, experential, peer-based and multisensorial learning. While it focuses a lot on the spiritual development of the child, the children do challenge themselves intellectually in many ways and we’re not just talking books here.
Like the Valley school, Shibumi is a J. Krishnamurti school. They also have a post school program for children who finish school. Apprenticeships form an important part of the educational programme between 17 and 19.
What we like: Their progressive outlook. Back in 2008, when alternative schools were still not as popular as they are now, Shibumi was doing everything that new age schools now pride themselves in accomplishing.
Get more information: Shibumi
Prakriya Green Wisdom School
One of the most popular schools in the city, Prakriya Green Wisdom school follows the ICSE syllabus in a wonderful and creative way. Prakriya looks at education as being more than factory schooling and is also known for its excellent teaching resources. The school varies its teaching methods to appeal to all kinds of learners.
The school is deeply committed to sensitizing children to the environment and ecological education. Children have organic farming as part of their curriculum. The school also has an excellent water harvesting system and the children eat the food from the farm on campus.
What we like: Their mixed-age classrooms till grade 4. Children from grades 1 to 4 study together in groups of 18 in each classroom, giving the children access to a variety of knowledge and learning curves. In fact, one parent told us that because of the mixed age classes, his son learned both Hindi and Kannada in the younger classes!
Get more information: Prakriya Green Wisdom School
Pramiti is headed by Savitha Ravi, who is a certified trainer in Inclusive Education, Early Intervention and pre-primary Montessori education, apart from having worked at Headstart and been on the panel discussion for Inclusive Education at The Valley School. Pramiti is a school that provides an environment for children to explore, create, realize and co-exist in harmony. The school, which will shift to Kanakapura Road this year, offers four programs — the toddler program, the House of Children, the elementary program and the Adolescent Community.
What we like: The variety of activities that they offer the children. From Carnatic music and dance to sports and even carpentry, children are exposed to many wonderful skills.
Get more information: Pramiti
Ohana was started in June 2015 by Arthi Saktheeswaran, Chithra Rajagopal, Prerna Kaul, Nandini Ram Mohan and Ravi Chari, who between them have years of expertise and diversity as educators. Ravi Chari is the founder of a well-known preschool, Magic Puddles. The idea of Ohana was born as an alternative space that created different learning opportunities for children. In the words of the founders, “The idea of our new school was born as we grew more aware of the current trend in today’s fast-paced world. We feel that knowledge is imparted quickly to young children and as a result, they are subjected to an academically-focused program at a tender age, thereby losing their other abilities to question, explore and think.”
What we like: The founder is a special educator and uses her expertise to pluralize learning to suit different kinds of readers.
Get more information: Ohana
Centre for Learning (CFL)
Started in 1990 by 10 passionate educators, some of whom worked at Valley, CFL is a semi-residential school that was envisioned as a community-driven education space that is deeply humanistic. The school is also influenced by the philosophy of J. Krishnamurti. At CFL, children don’t just seek knowledge and academic excellence, but try and understand themselves, their values and their interests in life. In 2000, the school moved to Vardenhalli, and the school is surrounded by nature in every sense, located in a twenty-three acre land adjoining the village.
What we like: As part of its education project, CFL has roped in the people of the village and its ‘green’ campus also exposes children to rain water harvesting and ecological preservation.
Get more information: Centre for Learning (CFL)
The Buddhi school’s curriculum is inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Children are encouraged to look at knowledge organically, instead of categorizing them as ‘science’ or ‘language.’ Instead, these areas are integrated into play.
With Reggio’s emergent curriculum, the children are given access to a range of options and choices when it comes to their education. Children are encouraged to approach a text or a learning resource with a questioning mind. The Buddhi Primary & Lower secondary school curriculum prepares students for the IGCSE & CBSE programs, which is an excellent framework for educational success of students and prepares students for progression to high school.
What we like: The early learning curriculum, until age 9, is based on New Zealand’s ‘Te Whariki’ guidelines, where the educators, parents and children weave together a curriculum best suited to the child’s childhood experiences, knowledge and abilities.
Get more information: Buddhi
Poorna Learning Centre
Poorna was started as a home-schooling experiment in 1993 and is now one of the most respected schools in the city, revered for its inclusiveness. Poorna doesn’t follow a specific syllabus and it is a good mix of formal and personal education. Textbooks are used but are just one of the school’s many resources. The curriculum is based on a child’s age, interests, and inclinations, and the school keeps pace with each child’s learning style and ability. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves and take control of their education. Poorna’s students have taken the National Open School (NOS) Secondary Level Examination and a few have also opted for IGCSE.
What we like: Poorna is one of the most socially inclusive schools in the city. At present, well over 25% of its children come from economically weaker backgrounds.
Get more information: Poorna Learning Centre
Bangalore Steiner School (Trust)
Based on Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy of education, Bangalore Steiner School is one of the premier Waldorf schools in the country and its founders have adapted the Steiner philosophy to suit the Indian culture. In order to fully grasp the wonders of the Steiner philosophy, we encourage you to attend G. Mannivanan’s ‘The Art of Parenting and Teaching’ workshop, which will tell you in simple and lucid terms what Steiner education can do for your child.
What we like: In Bangalore Steiner School, as with all Waldorf schools, the grade teacher stays with the same group of students for 7 to 8 years, establishing a deep connection and relationship between the teachers and the students. This personal connection and rapport is sorely missing in schools today.
Get more information: Bangalore Steiner School (Trust)
Advaya Shaale is the grade school initiative of Promise Centre, 25-year-old Waldorf kindergarten. Much like Bangalore Steiner School, has adapted the Steiner philosophy to the Indian context. founded on the contemporary interpretation of an Indianised version of Steiner Waldorf philosophy. The school holds regular open days and visits, wherein the teachers help parents understand the curriculum and how it will be taught.
What we like: The school brings in some of the world’s best Waldorf practitioners to conduct workshops at their premises.
Get more information: Advaya Shaale
A community-driven school that focuses on both the academic and spiritual development of the child, Creative driven by the passion of its students, teachers and parents. Founded by B. Ashok and Jayashree Ashok in 2010, Creative aims at providing a good foundation for children. Creative school encourages its children to be creative and not simply pursue academic goals, but embrace experiences, read, observe, wonder, think and use all their senses to the fullest.
What we like: Their ‘the Joy of Teaching’ curriculum gives teachers creative freedom and the ability to make a difference in the children’s lives.
Get more information: Creative
Abheek – School for Holistic Education
A school that was created to encourage the inherent goodness in each child, Abheek is inspired by the philosophy of J. Krishnamurti. The school aims to make children self-directed learners and independent thinkers. It also follows a flexible approach, unlike the excessive structures that many schools impose on the children.
What we like: Abheek has been offering very creative takes on education. It is one of the schools in the city to experiment with the micro school model.
Get more information: Abheek – School for Holistic Education
Sandeepani Academy for Excellence is a rare find – a CBSE school that is progressive and project-based, with ample scope for freedom and discovery. Sandeepani implements the NCERT’s framework in very flexible and wonderful ways. They believe in inter-disciplinary learning and in encouraging children to think beyond their comfort zones, both academically and otherwise. The curriculum is layered and scaffolded beautifully throughout the child’s progression across the grades. Sandeepani also has a well-equipped unit for special needs children, called Stepping Stone and believes in inclusive education.
What we like: The teachers go beyond just textbooks and really get the students to apply their learning – through manipulatives, projects, collaborations and more. Far from confining themselves to a syllabus, the school uses it as a stepping stone to really branch out in its many explorations.
Get more information: Sandeepani
An institution with a progressive view of education, Roots Academy comes from Roots 360, with its network of popular Montessoris in different parts of Bangalore. Affiliated to the ICSE board, the school is the product of the vision of Mr. Pruthvi Banwasi and Ms. Pranothi Banwasi, the Founder Trustees. The campus is designed with ample space and keeping the children in mind. The school aims at creating a stress-free learning environment for the children and a creatively fulfilling atmosphere for the teachers.
What we like: Their beautiful campus and the innovative way in which their classrooms are designed.
Get more information: Roots Academy
A free-spirited and progressive open school that believes in children taking control of their learning, BeMe believes that education is constant and that we are always learning. BeMe’s environment consists of various learning components — outdoor education, self-reflection, basic skills like reading, writing and numeracy and much more.
What we like: A typical day at BeMe is one of the loveliest things we have ever seen. Check it out here.
Get more information: BeMe
Jigyasa the School is a popular preschool in Indiranagar and it has now opened its primary section. The curriculum at Jigyasa Primary draws on Montessori and Reggio inspired practices until Grade 3 and will then transition into IGCSE in the higher grades. At Jigyasa, Anuradha Chadha heads a group of excellent educators. Chadha has more than 20 years experience as an early years educator and has designed curricula for early years settings for the last ten years.
What we like: The curriculum is one of the most remarkable aspects of Jigyasa. It is implemented through projects and thematic units, which integrate cross curricular learning and provide opportunity to revisit and apply concepts and skills to real life situations.
Get more information: Jigyasa
Nurture International School
Nurture is founded by Dr. Sunita Gandhi, PhD, Cambridge University, UK, Co-Founder, Council for Global Education, USA, daughter of the founders of CMS – City Montessori School, Lucknow. Dr. Gandhi has more than 38 years of experience in education and the curriculum at Nurture motivates a child to learn, succeed and look at himself or herself as a citizen of the world.
What we like: Their motto of getting the children to ‘compete with themselves’ also translates to their unique modes of assessment!
Get more information: Nurture International School
Set up by the Bhavya educational, social and charitable trust, Bhavya community’s goal is to facilitate a meaningful and freeing education that brings out the best in every child. At Bhavya, children will find themselves in a free environment that is not riddled with the structures of competitions, exams, homework or grades. Instead, they are encouraged to motivate and challenge themselves and to become independent thinkers.
What we like: Their curriculum mixes the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy with high order thinking skills and creativity. Find out more about it here.
Get more information: Bhavya School
Located in Tathguni Village, Vikasana is a non-formal learning space started in 1977 by M.C. Malathi as a result of her training experience with David Horsburgh and her experience in working with rural children. Based on the educational philosophy of David Horsburgh, Vikasana aims at making learning enjoyable.
What we like: The school caters to children of the rural poor, landless farmers and migrated families. It brings quality education to children from these backgrounds and also preserves the children’s own indegenous backgrounds and identities.
Get more information: Vikasana