Masti Ki Paathshala
Masti Ki Pathshala is an amazing concept of a classroom."Masti ki Pathshala" is a concept initiated by grade 3 & 4 students, in which the teachers and parents play the role of students. All the students teach their parents in their class-room in as similar a way as their teachers had taught them.
They use the chalk and talk method, IT corner, the outdoor garden section, music and theatre to explain the chapter thoroughly. In the chalk and talk method, students explain the topic by writing on the green board and drawing pictures related to various terms.
Apart from using chalk and talk method, they use role play, music, the writing corner, art corner and IT corner to explain the concept. This learning and teaching method is a delight for the parents and children alike.
Our school not only aims at the academic development of the child, but a holistic development. We at ATS Valley believe that a school is not only accountable for a child’s academic growth but also for the development of their behavioural and social skills. Keeping in mind this, we have designed the FGA Programme i.e. Fortnightly General Assessment. This is being done right from Foundation to Grade-9. This is basically used to assess the growth of the child in the other fields apart from academics. There are various aspects on which the students are judged by the respective class teachers and subject teachers every 15 days. These aspects include confidence, behaviour, punctuality, peer relations, health & hygiene, curiosity, lunch, uniform, diary maintenance etc.
Confidence: is judged on the basis of the child’s speaking skills and whether he/she is able to overcome the fear of public speaking during the activities conducted in the class on a regular basis. Each class has been equipped with a podium for this purpose.
Behavior: is the second category in which the rating is done according to the child’s behavior in class as well as during the extracurricular activities when they are not accompanied by their respective class-teachers. We take into account not only the incidence of disruptive behavior but also positive conduct. The child is observed closely on a daily basis to avoid sporadic judgement.
Punctuality: It is one of the most important attribute of life being taught to the children. To ensure whether the children have imbibed this attribute into their daily routine, tasks such as punctuality in reaching the school, punctuality in their eating habits, submission of the work etc. Being punctual makes a big difference in the overall personality of an individual.
Peer relations: the development of peer relations of a child in the early childhood is an important psychosocial attribute that is important for their overall development. Right from preschool, the students are trained and encouraged to communicate with their peers, enable them to master the art of problem solving and establish inter personal relations. Under the FGA program, the students are graded based on close observation of their peer relations.
Health and hygiene: is another parameter on which the students are given points. Maintaining a good hygiene is very essential to live a healthy life. Keeping in mind how often the students wash their hands after the meals, use the napkins for wiping the hands and face, trimming of their nails on the regular basis etc. are the minute details which are taken note off.
Curiosity: the students are encouraged to become more and more curious. This opens up their minds and helps them to go beyond their textbooks. The X-why-Z session is done in the class on a regular basis where every student has to ask his/her class teacher a question based on their observation of the things and people around them. The FGA analysis is done on the basis of how frequently the child has been asking questions.
Lunch is such an important parameter where the teacher observes what the child is bringing for his lunch daily and whether it is healthy. The parents are sent a feedback if the child is found eating fatty or junk food quiet often.
If any student is lagging behind in any of the above mentioned parameters we try to focus on it work out on various ways for the improvement because our aim is to achieve the holistic development of our students.
This is an innovative and mind blowing session which adds to the list of creative activities happening at ATS Valley School. It plays a very significant and effective role in the upbringing of the kids studying in the school. The basic premise of this activity is that every class from Grade 1 onwards has to give a question to their respective class teachers. The question has to begin with the word 'Why'. The purpose of keeping the question starting from with 'why' is to enhance the reasoning skills of the students. Every student is provided an opportunity to submit his or her question. This activity is done on a daily basis. Once the appropriate question is chosen out of the list of questions given by the students, 'question of the day' is selected and displayed on the notice board the whole day.
At the end of the day, the teachers gather in the library to hold an interactive X-Why-Z session. The 'question of the day' from each class is discussed and an appropriate answer is figured out. The very next day, a rigorous discussion between the students and their respective class teachers takes place and the answers are explained. This innovative method of spreading knowledge not only benefits our students and staff members but also the parents and friends of the students.
In our Leapfrog Programme, we encourage our children to become self-reliant with their everyday activities, be it at home or school. Children, as we understand, love to explore things independently, things in which they may not be flawless at the beginning but given an opportunity, would love to handle them independently. They learn basic life skills such as how to tie their shoelaces, how to survive when alone at home and pasting their own worksheets in their notebooks.
They slowly progress towards
- Cycling without support
- Pasting their worksheets in their notebooks
- Folding their napkins after having their meals
- When alone at home they should have access to their parents' phone numbers
- Folding clothes
- Arranging things at proper place
- Nail cutting
- Ability to do their laundry
- Giving first –aid (applying antiseptic and band aid)
- Covering notebooks and simple gift wrapping
- Reading a thermometer
- Putting pins in a stapler
- Arranging table for meals
- Making their own beds in the morning
- Making lemonade
- Tying a tie knot
The experience of education precedes education itself. Just as who we are, is in part heredity and in part our environment, similarly, the environment in which we grow during our time in school is also instrumental. And for evident enough reasons, that would be valid even more so in the formative years. Herein comes our Leapfrog Programme. (Leapfrog : to move ahead of or beyond (someone or something) in a very quick and sudden way)
The programme is at present for Classes 1 to 4. In these classes, there are 2 teachers for about 30 students. Starting from Class 1, these two teachers continue with the same students till they reach Class 4. That is 4 years of close interaction and quality time with 2 teachers. Then, there is the room itself. These are twice the size of normal classrooms (actually, we removed the walls between two adjacent rooms).
So, what do the above two changes mean for the children? The first is an emotional reason and has to do with relationships. At that age, the role of a teacher is as much to impart knowledge as to nurture the children in her care. The school should be a surrogate home for these impressionable and fragile minds. The learning then happens automatically. Now, for the logical part- the teachers are then responsible for the children for a full 4 years. With 4 years continuous tenure, the teachers of these classes have to perforce take on the onus, and the responsibility, of sound transfer of knowledge. And for the most part, these teachers teach most of the subjects other than some language and computers. So, there is a sense of comfort as well as responsible and effective education. There is also the FGA-Fortnightly General Assessment. Teachers grade their children once a fortnight on parameters such as hygiene, peer relations, lunch- box and eating habits and self-confidence. And each child is compared to himself or herself; not with the rest of the class. That also is an important life skill- to compete with yourself and not with others.
Another important factor is the size and hardware in the rooms themselves. These Leapfrog rooms are a school unto themselves. The usual furniture apart- desks, chairs, whiteboard, shelves- these rooms are equipped with their own learning areas. There are laptops available for the children and teachers in the computer corner. There is a reading area with a mini-library from where children borrow books. And they issue the books to themselves-that’s about teaching responsibility! This area is followed by the writing area where the children pen down their creative ideas and thereafter they are encouraged for public speaking as they narrate the story they read to their classmates. In the Jodogyan and puzzle area, there is left-brain development. Puzzles are a great way of learning lateral thinking and instilling picturisation skills. And of course, how could the school be complete without an art area. Paint and other equipment is available right there to unleash right-brain creativity. Music is available so that teachers may use it as a teaching tool for musical/rhythmic learners.
To now tie up the package neatly, where we have 2 teachers with long tenure and a strong bond with the children and a mini-school for each class, we try and ensure through effective lesson planning, that each topic taught in any subject, should employ these areas mentioned above. So, whiteboard talk on rainfall would be followed up by research on related topics like average rainfall in the area. The teachers could play music related to rain or simply play the sound of rain as a source of grey noise to calm the children. They would sit in the art corner and paint water colours on rain and its effects. And thus, each learning style is addressed to a large extent creating a holistic learning experience.
And so, for us, how they learn comes much before the actual learning occurs. And that is how much we love our children and how much we love teaching them.