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Prema Rangachary: The Vidyavanam story

Presentation Abstract

The Vidya Vanam story represents an inclusive transformational methodology with special focus on bringing the children of the Irula community into the learning process so as to enable to be self learners. To nurture tribal children to become self-confident, motivated, knowledgeable and emotionally stable adults who will be the leader and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
Prema Rangachary is the founder and director of Vidya Vanam, a school for tribal and underprivileged children in Anaikatti, a village in the foothills of the Nilgiris near Coimbatore. As director of Vidya Vanam, she has engineered innovative programmes that challenge conventional methods of imparting knowledge. One is the concept of zones for middle school instead of classrooms. Each zone is equipped with images, artefacts, charts, models, and books, which help the students to absorb the information through visual stimuli, and helps them to understand the lesson better. Another pedagogical approach developed by her is theme-based learning, an inter-disciplinary approach that helps children understand that knowledge is a continuous flow from one discipline to another. Mrs. Rangachary believes in incorporating new ideas that enhance the children’s learning and stimulates curiosity and creativity. She believes that the learning must be a joyful and enriching experience for every child.