BaLA (Building as Learning Aid) is an innovative concept towards qualitative improvement in education, through developing child-friendly, learning and fun-based physical environment building in school infrastructure.
This concept was originally developed byVinyas, Centre for Architectural Research & Design with support from UNICEF. Several teachers and Head Masters of schools have been trained to plan, implement and effectively use the BaLA concept in Model schools. While the government may have limited resources, the demand for making or converting schools to Model schools with BaLA is growing by the day.
What is BaLA ?
BaLA is a way to holistically plan and use the school infrastructure. It incorporates the ideas of activity-based learning, child-friendliness, and inclusive education for children with special needs (CWSN). At the core, it assumes that the architecture of the school can be a resource for the teaching-learning processes.
There are two levels of this intervention:
Develop the SPACES to create varied teaching-learning situations
Develop the BUILT ELEMENTS in these spaces as teaching-learning aids
The Spaces can be
Steps and staircase
The Built Elements can be
BaLA is about innovatively treating the space and the built elements to make the existing school architecture more resourceful with higher educational value in a child friendly manner.
But, why BaLA?
It Lets school be conceived in a holistic way
Makes the school a child friendly place
Can be introduced in existing and new school
Makes school an exciting place, allowing learning with fun
Creates conducive self-learning situations for children Can help creating inclusive learning spaces and provisions spaces for Children With Special Needs (CWSN) – i-BaLA is being developed for this purpose.
Allows learning materials accessible to children, at all times
Does not allow the TLM to be stolen or misplaced and hence it can can remain orderly
Allows Teachers to adapt them to suit their specific needs
Is more lasting and durable
Can be combined with building repairs and up-gradation
Intervention of BaLA could be achieved through a large inventory of ‘design ideas’ developed by Vinyas through an intense interdisciplinary approach.