"Necessity is the mother of invention!"
So it has been for us all along. K.K.Academy is an English medium school and for our students, English is very much a foreign language, which they do not hear or speak outside of school. The challenge was for us to find ways of helping children comprehend, speak and write the language right from an early age. The methods should also be fun for children, so that they pick it up and run with it.
We have a Word Wall in every classroom, on which the teacher writes new words as they are learnt. In the Art class, when children make drawings from their imagination, they also build up a story around whatever they have drawn, using words from the Word Wall. These stories are then laminated and used by us as reading material for the class. Integration of Art with Language, building on the child's own experiences has been the key to language development. We have built up a substantial library of such picture stories, and children are always excited about drawing, writing and reading. We continue this innovation into the senior classes. It makes children feel like budding authors, which they are! (Pictures attached)
We use every kind of written material to encourage reading. Children bring wrappers from home - it could be soap, biscuit, masala, butter, whatever. These are probably the first letters and words in Hindi and English that children learn to recognise. It would begin with sight reading and later reading with comprehension. Matras in Hindi are also introduced through this method. (Pictures attached)
In later classes, we use such wrappers to discuss nutritional value of food items and also concepts in mathematics such as percentage and per unit cost. The kabaadiwalah is a regular in the school every term. The students are in charge of selling old newspapers and other discarded material to him, weighing each category and calculating the amount of money they should be getting for it.
Science projects are always done using commonly available and most often recycled material. Good citizenship and environmental awareness are qualities emphasised in the school. This year children decided to ban the use of polythene and non-biodegradable material in the school and conduct surprise checks to ensure that we do not have any polythene in our waste! (Picture of Pledge attached)
Traditional games have been used innovatively to a great extent. Children play antakshari of words - both in English and Hindi. This helps increase vocabulary and also focus on spellings. Playing Dumb Charades uses drama to describe "Action words". Circle games in Mathematics helps children learn the tables in a fun way. Impromptu Just A Minute encourages free thought and expression. (Picture of skip counting attached)
We encourage group work and practical application of concepts in all classes. Children elect the Prefects every year through a democratic process of voting. Senior classes brain storm and decide the topic they want to take up for the Annual Day presentation. Children have got together and done the art work on several of the walls. Senior students organise and make all the arrangements for class outings. The applications abound. (Picture of wall art attached)
We see a direct correlation between children being encouraged to discuss and debate issues and their ability to take mature discussions after building consensus. We strive to create such opportunities in the everyday routine of the classroom, so that it becomes a part of their lives. The goal is to inculcate the spirit of team working and good citizenship.