Remembering Centre School

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Remembering Centre School

by Lisbeth, 2010

I remember Diane Hassinger and her husband Phillip (Lunaura and Sunaura are their children) built the building they lived in, which is now the office of Centre Guesthouse. The first building of Centre School – now the Centre Field Kindergarten – materialised soon after that. As the school in Aspiration had stopped with the book burning (except for the kindergarten with Filaure's mother), and our mode of transport was bicycle, parents living around Kottekarai, Centre Field, and Certitude felt that the children should have a school.

I started with Centre School around 1976-77, when Mukta was 3 or 4, and Chandrah went to the kindergarten in Lila's house (now Menaig's) with English Vikas. Ribhu born in 1982 went to Samata's kindergarten in Transformation, where the parents were also required to be part of the school. At Centre School the older children used the loft for 'academic' subjects, where there was also a small library. Play was downstairs and a lot outside. Suzie and later Ulla joined as teachers. Michele (Geert) lived and worked there and her twins went to school there. Later Francoise lived therewith Mona and Emmanuel.

The school was filling up fast, and I was looking for a way to take the children out. With little vegetation/shade, that wasn't too easy. But I got Narad to agree to give us a 'nursery' class for one hour a week. (See Narad's remembrances: “Gardening with children at Matrimandir Nursery”.)

The kids loved the shade and beauty of the nursery, so we extended our classes there to cover the whole morning. A story would be told (I recall the series of dragon stories which were so popular!), a skit developed, games played. In the monsoon we spontaneously followed the swirling waters in the canyons all the way to the sea. We visited Matrimandir and helped with some work.

After an inspiring visit of an American geographer, these one-day-a-week sessions became nursery class and geography/environmental science days. (And 30 years later I still teach this subject.)

Mukta, born in 1973, was in the Centre School for some years. In 1985 (the year Transition opened?) she went with Jaap and Ulla for a half year to Europe, and when she returned went directly to Last School, so never was in Transition School. I started teaching Geography in Last School. I taught Geography one day a week in Transition for many years, then changed to full-time Transition teaching and one day a week in Last School. Later it was one day a week in Centre for Further Learning, and then on to Future School .

Now I am teaching full time in Transition School. It has been 30 years! There are some pictures of that time...