Prachi Dalal

I joined Sahyadri because I was inspired by J. Krishnamurthi’s philosophy on the holistic growth of a child in the lap of nature. The school, set in the Sahyadri mountains provides a unique opportunity to students to work with their hands on initiatives such as farming, arts, crafts and sustainability, while being in the midst of a mindful and reflective community of educators.

My favourite spots on campus are vantage points from where you can watch the valley dotted with farms, as if guarded by the majestic mountains. Through a journey of learning, I have delved into sustainability, historical thinking, heritage management, community engagement, arts management, inquiry-based, place-based, project-based and experiential learning.

Having completed my Masters in Tourism Administration (with a focus on sustainable tourism and cultural-heritage interpretation) from George Washington University, I worked as a museum educator at museums such as the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries (Washington, D.C.) and the Rubin Museum of Art (NYC), nature-based preschools in Vermont and New Hampshire, and at Ascend International School, an IB school Mumbai. I have directed critically-acclaimed dance festivals in New York City, worked in a heritage village in Orissa and led the Grade 5 team of teachers during a challenging year of transitioning back from the Covid lockdown. Each of these experiences have opened up a new window of perspectives and practices. I believe that being an educator is an honour and a privilege. While designing my learning experiences, I provide opportunities for learners to have agency, and feel empowered to become researchers, change makers, innovators, entrepreneurs, critical thinkers, and empathetic citizens of local and global communities. Sir Ken Robinson’s analogy aptly describes my understanding of the role of a teacher: “The gardener does not make a plant grow. The job of the gardener is to create optimal conditions for growth.”