Education is the mantra to achieving success in various spheres of life, to pursue a career of one’s choice and transform the society into a better place. An educated society is a strong society with continuous robust growth.
Schools offering quality education, excellent infrastructure and holistic development topped up with humanity and compassion produce tomorrow’s citizens who can contribute towards the growth of the society. One such torchbearer in the field of education is The Riverside School in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
The Riverside School is the amalgamation of an approach to learning that is embedded in common sense. It is a vibrant research centre for school education, where insights from cutting-edge research are turned into working models of pedagogical practices with a single-minded focus: student wellbeing.
Over the last 20 years, Riverside has designed, implemented and shared a unique user-centred curriculum that is providing schools with an alternative model which focuses on quality of learning and student well-being. The practices have been recognized worldwide and the school has regularly been honoured for its academic achievements as well as its unique philosophy of ‘Doing Good and Doing Well’. Riverside School’s achievement stands as a testimonial of a true 21st century model with its students consistently outperforming the top 10 schools in India.
Campus and Curriculum
The campus is designed to nurture young minds and to allow for creative freedom of thought and action and hence one can see big open spaces and a lot of greenery. All spaces are open for children to access and each space is a learning space. There are no closed offices or staff rooms thereby enabling a lot more interaction between students and teachers.
“We have our own in-house developed curriculum till grade 7 after which we take the Cambridge International Board. Our school is a K-12 school which is divided into 3 key stages,” informed the school management.
Key Stage 1 caters to the youngest learners. Their learning is predominantly sensorial and more multidimensional than at any other state.
In Key Stage 2, children are armed with sufficient competencies and self-management and begin to interact with the world with greater complexity. The teacher energizes the learner with explicit strategies which the learner in turn applies consciously, visibly, and moves away from helplessness towards independence.
The Key Stage 3 student is a mature learner with fairly advanced competencies and communicative abilities. The learner is Meta cognitive (aware of the learning process) and thus, empowered to “solve problems and fashion products” that are aligned with his/her competencies that are used to effect change for self and the environment.
Kiran Bir Sethi, Founder-Director of the school is a graduate of Program of Graphic Design from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. Disillusioned by her son’s experience in his school, she entered the field of education. The prevalent scenario was impersonal, bound by content and devoid of choice. She has re-imagined education to nurture curiosity, creativity, excellence and inter-dependence. Her dynamism, a clear vision, design thinking mindset has catapulted her from a teacher to a reformer, a social entrepreneur and now a thought leader. Kiran started The Riverside School with five teachers and 27 students. The guiding philosophy of the school was a shift from conventional 3 R’s to that of Relevance, Rigour and Relationship. This philosophy was translated into every aspect of the school to craft a vision and image of a competent child, a competent teacher, a competent curriculum and a competent parent body. Twenty years later with 400 students and a faculty of 70, this remains the guiding philosophy of the school.
Overall Development of Learners
“There is only one child in the world and that child’s name is ALL children.” – Carl Sandburg
The Riverside School believes and promotes inclusive education systems that remove the barriers limiting the participation and achievement of all learners, respects diverse needs, abilities and characteristics that eliminate all forms of discrimination in the learning environment.
At the heart of The Riverside School is the acknowledgment of every child’s need and the experiences that allows all children to bloom into a life which is ripe with joy and good health. The need comes in different colours – physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual; each of these constitute an indispensable part of the right to life.
To ensure that every member of the Riverside community feels a sense of belonging and value, there are various programs designed for the same. This is done through programs like special needs, social inclusion and the ideas of Citizenship and Persistence.
The focus on the design thinking principles for systemic change, the FIDS model, makes The Riverside School stand apart from others.
Counselling Young Minds
The school has a dedicated school counsellor for older children and through number of interventions over the years the children are supported in figuring out their strengths, abilities and interest thereby making the choices of the career they might want to pursue.
“When we started the school, we got into the planning mode straightaway without understanding the learner and later we realized that it is so important to work ‘with’ the user instead of ‘for’ them and going forward this has become our mantra and all of our processes and ideas are co-created with our children,” said the school management.
The school believes that the world needs more empathetic and compassionate human beings, and it is going to continue focusing on this, thereby providing a design-centric education model for the world where each child will be nurtured to develop the ‘I CAN ’mindset.
Awards and Honours
- For the past 10 years, The Riverside School has been ranked as the No.1 International Day School in Ahmedabad and Gujarat and No.3 or 4 in India by EducationWorld. Besides this, the school has been ranked No.1 on various parameters of Excellence over the years.
- In 2017, DFC was recognized as one of the 100 most innovative educational programmes in the world by HundRED.org (based in Finland).
- In 2018, Kiran was awarded the “Light of Freedom” Award, at the Vital Voices, U.S.A., Global Leadership Awards.
- In 2018 Edutopia covered The Riverside School for best practices.
- In January 2019, Kiran was honoured with the Lexus Design Award for 2019, in Pune, India.
- In October 2019, Kiran was awarded the Earth Prize in Luino, Italy.