Stress Free Education
The root cause of most ailments seems to be stress. This can be traced back right from early education. The focus is on performance instead of joyful learning. Education for the sake of acquiring knowledge of the world and of our Self sounds like a vain ideal.
Paper pencil tests have minimal value, if it only assesses memory. Chances are that most of the time other academic skills are neglected. Tests and exams ought to be replaced by various tools of assessment covering different skills required in learning. By removing exams at least till class 7, can go a long way in paying attention to the real purpose of education – the joy of learning.
Let not the educational system add stress to the already overburdened shoulders of our little ones. Stress free education should no more be a hope. It must be made mandatory. Replace it with joyous learning. Children should love to go to school.
Human beings are expected to evolve through life. It is said that the important difference between human beings and animals is that of the ability to reflect. While the animal is a subject to a given routine, the human individual has the means to change his conduct for the better through the power of reflection.
Self reflection is the key to progress. If children are made to reflect on their thought, feeling and action from an early age, we enable them to take up responsibility for their academic learning and their overall behavior. We at New Creation School have provided a diary where the children from Class V upward post their reflections weekly, on various engagements in their life.
Most schools design their curriculum to optimize the implementation of the syllabus. We, at New Creation – A Free Progress School prefer to engage with it on basic terms, at most as a skeletal support. Just as the rest of our body is to a skeleton, we choose to engage in many more activities providing experiential learning.
We have a program which is in accordance with the natural rhythms of development of children from KG to grade X. In the Preprimary and Primary classes we have provided for lot of physical movement and learning by doing, as it is most unnatural for small children to be fixed to a chair for long hours. There is plenty of physical play in the play area, enacting nursery rhymes, singing, role play, recitation. In addition there is art & craft work, hand in hand with clay work and basic gardening. Languages of English, Telugu, Hindi and Sanskrit are learnt together along with Environmental Studies. Math is learnt practically. Books are replaced by learning games and worksheets. Reading is given maximum importance.
A large part of academics at middle school is project based learning integrating various subjects together. Focus is on making a choice out of a few art forms of performing arts and skill based activities. Community work is introduced with the objective of acquiring life skills. Free activity corners are introduced to help children learn making choices and pursue their area of interest. The children are also made to post observations on themselves in a self reflective diary.
Senior school from classes VIII to X will engage in the programs of middle school with an additional scope to self study. Also, they are trained in debates, elocution, and communication skills. Our school does not have formal exams until class VII and has no uniform for academics. Sport is compulsory after school and they play various games with an objective to develop strength, stamina, speed and agility.
Life Skills in Education
Education is for life, it needs to equip students with life skills. Unfortunately, education today is at most limited to academics in its basic sense and its sole purpose seems to be to employed in a lucrative job. Development of the faculties of the mind such as observation, imagination, analysis, judgment, reasoning etc. and skills such as exploration, research, documentation, etc. too are not focused upon.
What is also required is to train them in employability skills, for example, communication, presentation, organization and administration, planning and implementation, researching and reporting . We at New Creation School are engaging in developing these skills by providing a class for Community work. We divided classes V to IX into groups and the last period for 3 days is allotted for Community work. All the groups will take turns through the year in experiencing all fields. Community work consists of
Roles n responsibilities have been allotted to each committee. The students share the work and learn to take responsibility for it. This enables them to face challenges, learn to make connections apply critical thinking and self control. It provides for self-directed learning.
Much of the cause of our sorrow can be traced to comparing our self with others. From the age of a toddler the malady of comparison begins. In fact much of our desires is driven by the need to outdo the other. Comparison leads to unhealthy competition resulting in stress. Competition is good only to the extent of enabling children to strive for their best. Instead, the practice at schools is mostly to prove that one student is better than the other. Children must be made to try to perform better than what they did in the past. Progress in work needs to be measured and rewarded rather than children who score the best marks.
At New Creation School we have done away with exams until Grade VII. Over all assessments of the child is posted bi annually. Academic self assessment from grade VIII is a practice which enables them to own responsibility for their own progress.
It’s high time to create an environment of happy self acceptance at school. Appreciation of the other’s potential or talent must replace comparison. This is possible only when we believe that every child carries within himself/herself something unique.
Learning through play, learning by doing and learning by thinking are all essential modes of educating a child. The physical development of children at school does not match the practices at school. In regular schools students are made to sit at the desk for around 6 to 7 hours a day. Co curricular activities and sports are at a minimal. Isn’t this totally unnatural to their natural rhythms of development? In the first years KG to grade IV learning through play and learning by doing needs to be prominent part in the curriculum.
At middle school, academics can be largely imparted through project based learning. This provides for experiential learning and develops various skills. It is also more enjoyable for the children, hence results in greater learning.