The Unique Schools tour: Extension of the Houses of Goa Museum

posted in: Asia, Cities, Goa, India | 37

Ever thought of becoming a toddler again and going through school all over? Whether you have or not, you are bound to wish the same after you see these unique schools in Goa. I discovered them through an extension of the tour of the Houses of Goa Museum. If you have missed that post, you can access the same here.

Nisha's Play School, one of the schools near Houses of Goa Museum
Nisha’s Play School, one of the schools near Houses of Goa Museum

These school have been designed Gerard da Cunha –ย the same architect who has conceptualized the Houses of Goa museum. They are run by his wife and cater to both toddlers and high school kids. Nisha’s play school was the first building to be built and was shortly followed by Shiksha Niketan – the school for the higher kids. Since we had a bit of a wait time at the Houses of Goa Museum, Gerard suggested a tour of these schools and that is how, I ended up checking them out. Let me start with a quick introduction the concept and the rest is more of a photo journey.

Concept of the schools near the Houses of Goa Museum

Shiksha Niketan School, near the Houses of Goa Museum
Shiksha Niketan School, near the Houses of Goa Museum

The schools are designed keeping two key parameters in mind –

  • Eco friendliness
  • Child Friendliness

Gerard has taken special care to ensure that all the nooks and corners of the school cater to these two aspects. The school are on a slope and have been designed such that the inclines are used creatively in a building while the flat area behind the buildings is being utilized as a playground. Gerard’s designs have ensured that not just the space is effectively utilized but also, that the school gets enough of natural light and air. A perfect healthy and natural environment for the young minds.

Having said that, let me share my reasons of why I want to go back to being a toddler in this school ๐Ÿ˜€

ย Colorful yet Earthyย interiors

Colorful yet earthy interiors of Nisha's Play School, near the Houses of Goa Museum
Colorful yet earthy interiors of Nisha’s Play School, near the Houses of Goa Museum

Colors are such mood uplifters. The bright shelves, alcoves and the tiles against the earthy walls definitely make you feel cheerful. I particularly loved this waiting bench.

The waiting bench at Shiksha Niketan, near Houses of Goa Museum
The waiting bench at Shiksha Niketan, near Houses of Goa Museum

Classrooms of my size

Classrooms in Nisha's Play School
Classrooms in Nisha’s Play School

In this giant world of adults, imagine how the little tyrants feel. :). Gerard rightly sized up the rooms and its furniture to let the Lilliput have their own world. All the shelves, benches, tables and stations are sized for toddlers.

Free Play Area with no supervision

Smaller Role-Play areas at Nisha's playschool
Smaller Role-Play areas at Nisha’s playschool

I loved role playing. I remember spending hours dressing up my dolls, putting them into prams and taking them shopping. I have seen my daughter doing it too and well, modern science has it that this aspect of a kid’s life is indeed, essential for their development. Nisha’s playschool has it covered well into small zones where these kids can play without any supervision. Anย adult cannot even enter it without really bending their frames :D.

Sliding down the school

Slides for the kids around the Spiral staircase for the adults
Slides for the kids around the Spiral staircase for the adults

This one really had me wanting to become a kid again. I would have loved to zoom down those earthy slides while the teacher walked those spiral staircases. Literally stay a step ahead of the adults. ๐Ÿ™‚

Slide into the playground, Nisha's play school near the Houses of Goa Museum
Slide into the playground, Nisha’s play school near the Houses of Goa Museum

As I understood from Gerard, the kids are encouraged to slide down rather than walk down the steps. Even the descent to the playground has a lovely wide slide.

Green Corners

Greens at Shiksha Niketan, near the Houses of Goa Museum
Greens at Shiksha Niketan, near the Houses of Goa Museum

The greens around the school were indeed quite refreshing – specially these lovely creepers.

Harry Potter Rooms

Harry Potter Room in Shiksha Niketan School, near the Houses of Goa Museum
Harry Potter Room in Shiksha Niketan School, near the Houses of Goa Museum

The room below the staircase was a store house and aptly named the Harry Potter room. Me being a Potterhead, loved the whole idea.

Bottled theaters

Bottles used on the walls of the school, near the Houses of Goa Museum
Bottles used on the walls of the school, near the Houses of Goa Museum

This one I spotted from the third floor of the Houses of Goa Museum. The open air theater had some pokey things and that got me asking what it was. Those I am told are bottles, that were collected by the students of the school and used for the construction of the walls. That is when my admiration for the school and fascination for it went up notches.

If you are visiting the Houses of Goa Museum, I would urge you to spend a few more minutes and take up this tour of the schools here. They definitely give you a different perspective to education and ecologically sustainable architecture. I am glad I stumbled upon it for it was indeed something unique in this modern world. Don’t you think so?

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Getting here:

  • On how to get to Goa and the Houses of Goa Museum, please refer to my earlier post on the same or visit the official website of the Houses of Goa Museum

Travel Tips:

  • The school tours is available at the Houses of Goa Museum. You can check at the reception of the museum for the same. Here is the snapshot of the poster kept that gives you all the details, including the tour fee of INR 50 per head.
The Schools tour option at the Houses of Goa Museum
The Schools tour option at the Houses of Goa Museum
  • Please do not take any pictures of the kids here as the same is strictly prohibited.
  • Though visitors are allowed, please be cognizant that this is a functional school. If you are visiting on work days, please keep the noise levels down.
  • Certain areas of the school have a restricted access. Please respect the same.
  • While here, remember to also, check out the unique shop of Mario Miranda merchandise. This is just across the road and you can buy some unique gifts here.
Mario Miranda Shop at the Houses of Goa Museum
Mario Miranda Shop at the Houses of Goa Museum

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37 Responses

  1. Andrei Barbu Photography

    Great series, very well written!

  2. Lovely post about this unique school ! Almost like an ‘Alice in wonderland’ experience…especially the slides ! Wish I were a toddler…wheeeee ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you Rohini. Now that you mention it – it is quite like the Alice in Wonderland story. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Very unique! thanks for sharing:)

  4. Didn’t know about this part of Goa. Thanks for showing us an interesting side of Goa.

  5. Loving all your updates from the Goa fam trip – theses other side of Goa is unique and interesting

  6. Wow this would be a lot of fun for kids and many adults too ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. I really was taken aback how different a pre school environment is! So much of imagination there.

  8. Who wouldn’t love going to school here! It is a little paradise tucked away from the world. I love your description a pictures really bought the place alive.

  9. This sounds like a really interesting school. I really like their use of natural light as well, I know that I feel blah and unmotivated when lacking natural light, so it seems like a great feature to have in a school!

    • Thanks Megan. It definitely helps to have natural light and on the other hand, you are also, helping in conserving energy bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Wow – this building is so beautiful and unique! I love all the colors!

  11. Amandas_Wanderlust

    Interesting and definitely unique! Good to hear that they have considered environmental factors such as natural light and air in the design of the school.

  12. I wish I had known about this on all my visits to Goa over the last two years! Those slides are genius! Oh, to be a kid and go to a school like this. Is it a state or a private school, do you know?

  13. This is such a cool idea! I love how the architecture really embodies the mission of the school; it must be a wonderful place to be a student. The architecture is really fascinating. I was obsessed with Hundertwasser for a while, but I’ve never heard of this architect before — I’ll have to do a little research. I’ve always really loved bottle walls, I imagine the kids must have such a great time collecting them and actually building with them.

    • Thanks Cori. Glad you enjoyed the post. I am not sure if you can find too much on this online but you can get some information through the Houses of Goa museum website.

  14. I would never want to go back to school, hated it ! ๐Ÿ™‚ But these schools really do not like schools and probably they succeed in attracting the small boys and girls and keep them engaged.

  15. What a really great concept! I loved school, but I don’t know that I want to do it all over again! Maybe I would want to teach here or something! I love the focus on Eco-friendliness. I think we all have something to learn from this school! I’m also a Potterhead, so I love that there’s a Harry Potter Room! Cheers!

    • I like that thought – of being a teacher here. And yes, then I can be McGonagal or Prof Dumbledore ๐Ÿ™‚ what say?

  16. Okay, legit this is the coolest school I’ve ever seen! I’m very interested in the way architecture of schools are becoming more and more tailored to accommodate the learning needs of students and this one is at the top of the game of the progressive movement. The open air theater made out of recycled bottles and those slides down the stairs are my favorite features! I might have to borrow their interior design approach for my own home one day. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Unique in the real sense! The pictures made me wanted to go back to my kindergarten days …. I want to be a student here!! ๐Ÿ˜›

Would love to know what you think