Make learning fun. That’s the mantra schools follow in south-west Delhi. And with a host of activity-based learning for their youngest students, the area’s schools have succeeded in doing just that. Visit one of them, and you can see it for yourself. Numbers painted on steps, multiplication tables drawn on the floors, wet areas where tiny tots can paint, splash pools — learning is all around.
“We even teach our youngest students to climb stairs properly, walk in a straight line etc, since motor skills development is important at that age,” said Preeti Chadha, junior school headmistress at Tagore International school, Vasant Vihar. Rather than accepting
traditionally handed down concepts, schools here are constantly upgrading the early learning methods they adopt.
The Top 5 schools in south-west Delhi remain unchanged from last year, according to the 2013 HT-C fore Top Schools survey. Vasant Valley has topped, with Shri Ram school, Vasant Vihar, ranked second. Springdales, Dhaula Kuan, has improved its ranking, tying third with DPS, RK Puram this year. Springdales has the highest ‘value for money’ score in the Top 10 schools, according to the survey. “Our motto is to give quality education at an affordable price, not be an exclusive school. You can’t have an inclusive mix of all students if you are very expensive,” said Jyoti Bose, the school’s principal.
The Right to Education law has thrown up new challenges on teaching young kids as well, and schools are developing the curriculum to ensure inclusive education for all. “Teachers are the best people to help us incorporate new ideas, since they are on the battleground,” said Meenakshi Sahni, principal, Modern School, Vasant Vihar.
Many schools here conduct a variety of activities to sensitise students, many of whom are from affluent backgrounds. “They visit slums, old-age homes etc and do volunteer work,” said Sahni. At Tagore International, students work closely with the NGO Muskaan, giving vocational training to young adults who are mentally or physically challenged. The school’s interact club has tied up with the Rotary club to conduct blood donation camps as well.
With the aim of providing a healthy balance in education, schools don’t academically stretch students. “Music is an important part of the curriculum,” added Sahni.
With many schools installing CCTV cameras for security, questions have been raised in recent years on whether these constitute an unnecessary monitoring of teachers in class and whether discipline among students really improves. “Self-discipline is important for students and teachers, which is why we don’t have CCTVs in classes. Only the school gates have cameras,” said Chadha. “I have never believed in spying on students and staff through CCTV’s. They deserve their privacy. I believe in regular counselling and trust. It needs to be instilled in their hearts that the school is their second home and they must respect and love it,” said Bose.