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A letter to my son

Son I see you sad, it breaks my heart!

All dreams in your eyes set forth, to leave a mark, but now in all knots you seem to have flummoxed your better.

The stride the snigger, the lost joys, I am remorse for all the tears shed with me.

You have been my strength my armour in all of your 18 years.

Go on son you have a vision to catch and a rainbow to paint give wings to your dream and fly away like the pelican to reach the moon.

The eyes ever searching for a dawn ,for a lost dream, son you are the archer with slew of arrows ready to shoot at all satans dancing around .

With eons of wisdom in your head, a knot of grit in the fist, I wish you an era of joy and happiness.

The plethora of distance and seasons of books you have rummaged would shame any erudite, behold all your strains you will be swept away to a land of angels and bliss who will bestow all joys for you to win over the land of gallantry.

The hands of god, blessed in your halo I see you as a crystal with clarity in a moment.

The trance sets of the colours for a dream dance to the gardens of mythology.

The caricatures and cartoons sing out your comic sense, the tales and talks seems to ebb in a light to the mundane days.

My heart swells and chest spans out to colour in a pastel of expanse for all your dreams.

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The Magic Mat

The Magic Mat

 

 

Welcoming all parents to the new academic year . Mothers nudging me to be back on the blogging page, this set me forth! The decoding of experiences.

The Moment came on the  mat, never a quiet mind; Both the mats in a Montessori and yoga  set me off on a thinking spree. The thoughts of the young girl Nithyaa telling her mother she is happy being a Tortoise and not the Hare seems a lasting memory for me. The 8-year-old Sharda telling her mother why would the teacher  in my big school throw books where as Montessori shows me how to place a book down, are  incidents which sets me seeking for  more learning .

Dr Montessori called the child’’ the messiah’’, we  never lose a moment to cherish the pure joy and love of the children around us ,so vital  for all our well-being.

Ah! Such a happy space for all, The well-being and of course the longevity of a happy society.  The year that’s gone by has been well spent on reworking, restructuring,of gratitude for learning which has metamorphosed  into superior work, training teachers, mentoring and  development of   the institution . Notwithstanding the journey that’s has  made me, from an eager Montessorian all dove eyed, Enthused for learning , to overcoming  short comings, to train under the big heads and directors of training. Unbridled against the wishes of family, Having trained for four years to learn the minutest  aspects of science behind the Montessori having Come to loggerheads with them .

The inner churn of Montessori in my heart and soul which saw me rising strong in those days overlooking all , the pot shots flung by them,  Emerging like a  Hercules wanting to take on the next flag post, the domain of research.shuttling back and forth between committees the thesis done, now the journal  editorial committee  flung several googlies which I saw it through the fields.All The stalking and intimidation can never deter us from functioning and delivering quality work. I let them have their moment or two, laughing my way to bliss, for their ignominy  of having my steps tracked, ha ha ha !so they think ! These moments seem to kick in the instinct of creativity and problem solving to pen my thoughts to paper.

My experiences on the mat not withstanding my struggle for aligning, symmetry ,mind-body connect saw a parallel with the story of the child on the mat in the Montessori .

There are several hands in the past and present that would liken to their own life. The child Sharda who would say I don’t know why I cried, but my school was the best, or the likes of Anshu who would  always tell the teacher  its ok to make a mistake and not be afraid, for I am learning. This is the best part of being in a Montessori  giving scope for reflection and renewal – a constant spiritual awakening.

I for sure have not missed the profound, not flaunting presentations, papers, the whys, the fundas,  the techniques, meditation around the materials.

At times we are struck as to how to limit our words to define Montessori, we can’t give a bland formula, for its so vast and expansive  but for now I have reached a point of not condoning  weakness, but coming back with robust strength and vigour to grow, to study to work on the human tendencies of the community at large .

No I don’t want to run a Marathon for riches and glory! but leave behind a life and legacy ,of a record of my experience and leave my footprints behind and  so I shall ! My take away has  been-we love one and all, our achievements our glories and our knowledge. The joy of learning is always for its own sake. J Krishnamurthy rightly said ‘’ learning is the very essence of ability, learning from everything and everybody ‘’.

The moment of reckoning has been in, unrolling or rolling  my mat, corrections by the teacher, alignments, the mind-body connect. I am not much of a yogi, not consistent, with practise and I go with the flow and strife. But love the peace and calm, feeling more centred more driven, more aware of body in space, of self-awareness. like a good yoga teacher who encourages self-awareness, learning is about showing up on the mat and practicing, just as we carve gradually into a tree taking time, the moment of reaching, the beauty of the process, the challenges of balance, to focus, to listen to intuition. yoga and Montessori reminds adults and children we are a part of something greater, the responsibility to themselves,to others, and to make a difference and to share their light.

Children are persistent in their work. They  arrive with only repeated practise and inner connect. its their journey they are aware and dare not we  delve into the inner core or disturb the little red men at work. Mothers now can embark on self-development and personal growth for children are going to be immersed in work ahead of them. Smart successfull mothers make for successfull happy children. As For me, now it’s time to straddle up the  big  Elephant, am up for the next Big task  ahead of  me, strapped up to take on!

 

 

Not words but virtues speak

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Children in a montessori are driven and hungry for work ,They  constantly look  up to all teachers.  I have Fond memories of all normalised children, perfectly balanced, virtous and always at peace . Work and virtues always always go hand in hand in the environment, I would not have second thought of it , lofty though but  I always strove and felt driven to inculcate them in all my children.

Virtues  is not about  mere  practices or beliefs   It is based on the simple wisdom  about living by the best within us – courage, honor, justice, kindness and all of our innate virtues.  Schools and businesses, are using the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project with transformational effect.

Maria Montessori  cautioned, that children not only hear everything, but they also see, imprint, and even mirror our behaviors. The children watch the adults around them from birth. Everything we do, everything we say is imprinted  in her/his memory. In her book, The Child in the Family,  Montessori makes her point :

The children are impressionable to such a degree that the adult ought to monitor everything they say and do, for everything is literally engraved in the child’s mind. enormous responsibility! I  have always wondered at how children idolize the teachers and take their word as final. MAM told me soooo! we always hear.

Mentoring, training, managing ,supervising trained and untrained staff is a humongous task where I had to wield the stern sharp look, as well as a carrot and stick approach to get to perfection .Parents in a Montessori school need to understand how important behavioral modeling is for their children.

Modeling Montessori Behavior in the Home:

Discrepancies between home and school environments can be challenging for children and for the Montessori program. From the beginning of  Montessori Parent Education Program, which usually begins as soon as a prospective parent enters the doors of our Montessori school,  clearly communicate that the role of parents is to put their beliefs in what their children should do and say into action.  I have  counselled many parents before they take admission as to the vision and mission of our institution and the ideals of the Montessori philosophy.I have put out tough standards all along in training teachers, some targets they would reach if they strive ,This means becoming an active role model for teachers,parents and children. Meaning, walking the Talk for which we pay a  price  and is non negotiable . Many at times it is seemed and heard in quite whispers,  she is a tough cookie,  old fashioned ,So be it, i said ! I am not here to be sugary and nice but to do a good job of turning in future leaders and entrepreneurs and reaching the goal of normalisation of children .

Virtues play a key role in the Montessori philosophy. A Montessori teacher knows that even though she may have the Montessori curriculum and prepared Montessori environment, unless the intent is for the good of the child , all the preparation in the world will be for naught. Tomorrow is a crucial part of our work .I have always delivered before being reminded of my task. In fact, Montessori said “Not words but virtues are her  main qualifications” (Discovery of the Child). And since the education of the child occurs both in and out of the Montessori classroom, all adults in the child’s life play a vital role in the education and development of the personality of the child.

Reminding Montessori parents that although I am not expecting them to be perfect, they should make a very conscious effort to be a positive role model for their children. Asking them to think about what they value and if their behavior demonstrates that value to their children. Here are examples of a few questions to keep in mind:

  • Are we living our daily life in such a way that  would want our child to follow our example?
  • do we practise healthy habits ourselves ?
  • Do we tell “ white lies”?
  • Do we turn off the radio (TV, computer, cell phone) as we come Home and  listen when our child speaks ?
  • Do we use the language of respect, not just with our child, but with everyone we interact with?
  • Do we express rage when children throw a tantrum?
  • Do we do a lot of positive  and empowering talk , to show them perseverance in effort.
  • are we permissive and being extravagant in our lifestyle ?
  • do  we indulge and bribe children with gifts and goods ?

In a Montessori   children learn wisdom, virtue, courage, honesty, and character by hearing, reading, seeing and through stories that model these virtues. Our world is rich with literature about individual heroes who have made the earth a better place for others. Reading these stories and poems aloud to children builds a strong curriculum for Character Education in conjunction with learning .The Montessori classroom can also be the environment where children learn to practice character virtues, and recognize these virtues  every day.

Character Education in a Montessori

Many a times positive strokes for children at good behaviour has resulted in dropping of all bad habits in the environment.
some examples of character virtues that we can work around,
Responsibility, Fortitude, Courage, Compassion, Caring, Honesty,  Fairness, Hard Work, Perseverance, Politeness, Sharing, Courtesy, Kindness, Patience,  Awareness, Flexibility, Humility.

Encouraging  Montessori children to do further work with the  Virtues,  practicing it at all times , engaging children in the virtues of grace and courtesy helps. Even everyday actions, such as an older child helping a younger child, or a practical life activity such as caring for the environment, can be acknowledged and celebrated in the Montessori classroom.
Character Education continues to be one of the most important aspects of the Montessori curriculum, across all ages. The Montessori teacher and parents are important role models and guides toward the “education of the whole child” through thoughtful practice and shared experience.

It supports Montessori’s philosophy and methodology beautifully. Recognizing that virtues are ‘the gifts from within’ many visitors have always wondered the calm the serenity that prevails in the environment

In addition to the virtues we often use in our Montessori philosophy,adults  are enriched by learning to fine tune some useful virtues like moderation, tact, assertiveness, enthusiasm, purposefulness, diligence and inspiring and motivating teachers to role model them is  integral to success and posterity of the institution.
Using the language of the virtues to ACKNOWLEDGE the beautiful ‘gems’ that children are developing,  to help them recognize they can use these gems in a variety of situations. practising it at Home is crucial , what with world of technology ,corporate culture and instant solutions   its important as educators to  use the language of the virtues to GUIDE children to a virtue that will help them handle a situation confidently. We use the language of the virtues to guide children with a virtue that will help them avoid a problem in the future.”

Teacher’s Experience with The Virtues

The thing I am most proud of from my work, is how the Virtues   work in the Montessori environment . Montessori always  offers so many incredible teachable moments, that I feel had the most impact on  children of anything we teach them. BE it eating healthy food to all good habits.
There is always a moment or activity with the virtues:
breaks posed lots of  conflicts. Teachers never had the time to give each and every child the attention they were seeking for resolution . So, I created a piece of paper (and made over a hundred copies) with this outline: and gave it to teachers to reflect on

  • What happened:
  • What bothered us about it:
  • What we did to solve it:
  • Some other approaches to solving it:
  • Virtues we need to call on to help us be right now:​

The Five Strategies of  Virtue development

  1. Speaking the Language of the Virtues

Language has great influence to empower or discourage.  Self-esteem is built when shaming or blaming language is replaced by naming the Virtues, our innate qualities and character.  Virtues are used to acknowledge, guide and correct.  The Language of the Virtues helps us remember what kind of people we want to be.

  1. Recognize Teachable Moments

Viewing life as an opportunity for learning, recognizing our mistakes, our test and challenges as opportunities to hone our virtues.  It is an approach to bring out the best in each other by asking, “What can I learn from this situation?”, “What do I need to do differently next time?”, and “How can I make it right?”

  1. Set Clear Boundaries

Clear boundaries, connected to a Shared Vision of the virtues ,Clear ground rules based on virtues built-in an atmosphere of order .

  1. Honor the Spirit

School spirit grows through simple practices that illuminate our sense of values, such as   silence  activity in the day can bring a sense of peace to the day.  Reflections are key to all our work,  Celebrations make special events meaningful.

Virtues qualify us and leave a lasting impression on young minds , go ahead give your best to children in leading an enriched and virtuous life .

They are necessary for a child’s well-being and happiness. Once they are learned, they will last the child a lifetime.

Grit is the buzzword

Young children explore, as children grow, seeing things through is important. Young children stick with things for more than a few weeks. middle school children are able to do for a full year ,High school children should spend more than year on an activity which is important.Tactfully instilling grit in children requires a combination of being demanding and supportive. accelerated learning programs aid in accomplishing challenges. We need to push children a little bit but they also need to know that they are supported. its important parents need to model grit.Talks about the challenges we have faced in the past and how we persisted help.

My popular story has been the toil of physically building Mithrajyothi from the brick and mortar stage itself . Telling family stories about the ways our ancestors have been gritty -my Grandfather always shared his story of Hardwork and battling poverty to contribute to the family, inspired me always and i am an eternal positivist at that. This  approach will help them to not quit early, but make sure Not to over look fun. children should be allowed to try the things that they are interested and some times encouraging children until they are able to  explore and understand happiness.

Learning to cope with manageable threats is critical for the development of resilience and grit. Not all stress is harmful. There are numerous opportunities in every child’s life to experience manageable stress—and with the help of supportive adults, this “positive stress” can be growth-promoting. Over time, we become better able to cope with life’s obstacles and hardships, both physically and mentally.

The capabilities that underlie resilience can be strengthened at any age.

Most successful children display natural aptitude a combination of passion and perseverance. Duckworth’s new book Grit the power of passion and perseverance, how to develop grit is a must read for all teachers. By Actively discovering and deepening our interest we can do the difficult effortful work which helps to  make us better.Important is maintaining hope even during setbacks. Parenting style to foster grit is by being demanding and being supportive with warmth , love and autonomy support.

Healthy successful and giving people are meta cognitive with the ability to reflect as a signature trait. Carol Dweck’s ” Growth mind-set, implying human abilities are malleable and are not fixed and people by nature are learning growing individuals” is a good read. Grit is of stamina and trying in the face of adversity. many of my Teachers face this in the environment in the beginning Days and while working with children who display sedentary behaviour, when children are yet to settle down. Gritty people love what they do and keep loving . Many senior professionals in the community do accomplish and persist , going their whole life doing something that is very fascinating for them developing the essence of purpose in their work. For me Grit is not different from “conscientiousness”.

“Society is obsessed with talent and is generous with people who are natural with inherent ability.Here nurture wins over nature every time. In the book, Mind set the new psychology of success adopting a growth attitude towards talent can affect all aspects of life from school , relationships to our work.World leaders always valued team work over individual genius,Looking for both talent and growth mind-set with a passion for learning, thriving  on challenges and change to make mistakes and struggle and trying to create experiences through the rest of our lives.

Growth mind-set = perseverance and resilience,  is required to convert life’s setbacks into future success.

Many times, in a quest for physical and mental fitness, with a desire to push ourselves through uncomfortable situations, and in pursuit of saying “I did it!”  i have also said“I can’t do this.”

Then a voice in our own head says, “Yes, you can,” and suddenly we are scrambling up that wall. These challenges  are temporary, yet for many people, they are pivotal. They are the culmination of , hard work, practice and doing something outside of the comfort zone. Certainly there are people who can work their way just because they have talent and fantastic genetics, but for most of us it takes perseverance and passion to get through them. Many at times I have experienced strong animosity, intimidation,negativity , from known and unknown ,whom you can’t give up on or give a closure to the relationship for u have grown with them in those good old days we persist with grit despite the Negativity.

For  many of us there is a need to prove to ourself that we did  it. That’s a form of grit.

Grit is a buzz word that we have likely been hearing more and more, . Grit is getting a lot of attention in 21st century schools and businesses. Companies want employees who don’t give up, work hard, think out of the box, and thrive on challenges. Grit is the combination of passion and perseverance. Grit is a term made famous by  psychologist, researcher and author, Angela Duckworth. Duckworth has done extensive work studying success and achievement in various settings. She, like many others who study “soft skills,” believes that success and achievement are more about mindset than about talent.  In the growth mindset, mistakes are embraced as learning practice, failure is seen as necessary, and hard work determines the outcome.

Sometimes looking at the framed photo  of Maria Montessori , it seems she is winking at me to say, “I could have told you that 110 years ago.” Once again, Dr. Montessori was always ahead of her time.  Grit is Montessori  story

In the Montessori environment, the curriculum is designed with a control of error. Here children  make mistakes and correct  them without an adult telling them they were wrong. There is no external judgment on their mistakes. Think of a jigsaw puzzle. You can tell when you have made a mistake, and then you can try again. You continue this until the puzzle is complete. You don’t wait for someone to come over and tell you that something isn’t a corner piece. You figure it out and keep going.

Montessori children  commit mistakes and learn from them. They know from a very young age, that this is part of the learning process. Montessori children expect that some of the work they will do will take more time, be more challenging and produce varied results. Sometimes they do work that they think might be too difficult, and they stick with it and surprise themselves.

In Montessori, we give children the time that they need to finish challenging work. We give students the space to focus on something that is meaningful to them and the encouragement to push themselves to complete it. We give children choice in what they do, but we make sure that they try things outside of their interest and comfort zone. Then we ask them to reflect on the experience. How did they feel when they completed something that took so much work and determination? Rewarding the process of effort and work is a key to intrinsic motivation.praising wisely and the process to accomplish itself is needed.

The key to a Montessori child’s success is this  intrinsic motivation. This is a desire to learn that stems from interest and not from outside rewards. The motivation comes from the pleasure of the task itself and/or the completion of the task.  We can’t make children learn. We can’t force them to work, but we can provide them with interesting opportunities and intentional work. as children grow, they learn  about their brains.  Talking to older children We can role model  to them about mindset, perseverance and challenging themselves. We share with them the “why,” but they still have to do the work. We can only provide the opportunities, the time and the support.

There’s nothing new or trendy about grit. The best learning happens through passion, perseverance and meaningful learning. Montessori children have been gritty since 1906.

 

The uniqueness of Montessori Research

convocation photo 2017Words of Father Thomas C Mathew always rang a bell , “The world is  changing into one of data driven”.

Data holds a key to any of our arguments to validate or trash it.

Research can be daunting ! said all. Undeterred I  committed to a venture that gave me valuable insights to not only Montessori, but also life itself.

Professor Anurag Behar’s words Cautioned me, Educators have an epistemic responsibility “would I do justice to research knowing my level of professional and personal commitments.

How would I deal with this? would I be effective? will i have clarity in aims integral to research. Well there are no universally acceptable answers but needing only constant critical interrogation of our institutional work culture and be adept at asking and answering questions. Can i tread this path? I often wondered. It is imperative that academia submerge in research constantly as a method of learning with ability to observe, hypothesise, analyse, synthesize and conclude. Mind you the research method and approach we undertake would create unfathomable mysteries ahead! Research for me has been a tail of grit, huge reliance on insight, inspiration from legends and of personal sagacity.

Why research ? Why Montessori? Leaving all these questions, unanswered I sauntered despite many challenges. what prompted me in this endevour  beside the data driven approach was the tinkering tendency of my mind-set, I would be surrounded with what I love  and being a practitioner i would always make it better in my profession. Liberal tendency tagged along of serving everyone.

Why study Montessori Research?

Data validates our arguments, not much of montessori research in india, to understand the differences in educational outcome,To test Montessori culture being closed? to have robust enough data to give leads to policy makers as to the relationship between Montessori and international progressivism, to give momentum to support future rigorous research, to position montessori as the archetype of educational innovation.

What to study in Montessori research?

The background to study is to understand the prevailing scenario and readiness of learner which influences engagement in the learning environment, results of sedentary behaviour, The flow of work itself gives us a que, The thinking of Montessori teachers and the constant action research happening in the environment every day. Treading the typical montessori outcome research is a beaten path.

The levels of awareness in schools of education has it grown or not. Building on the high name recognition of Montessori research and helping children to learn , how to learn.

T o educate the public on misunderstood Montessori practices, to highlight montessori as the happiness enabler as it is touted as.

How to study?

A data rich study will validate our hypothesis, Having matched cohorts and a quasi experimental study for quantitative research is the path. Random assignment of sample to groups would be a superior methodology. Valid Researchable questions will strengthen our study.

The usage of material should be used as index of Montessori fidelity, higher the fidelity better the outcome.Implying the treatment is always well-defined.

To always create a convincing case for our conclusions, Reviewing literature comprising of body of work summarised and include well designed and influential research. To always have scientifically oriented questions and explanations for the evidence gathered.Having a pretest will act as base line.

Though a lot of ad hoc research happens in the class room constantly, newer methods and teacher reflections reveals credible data leading to subsequent questions to start the cycle of enquiry. A well designed research requires carefull consideration of challenge of scholarly investigation created by the unique nature of Montessori method. Having clarity in definitions of the object of study is always a strength. But authenticity and fidelity is a relevant basis for comparison. the most complex of research designed should take into account the major confounding influence of parental selection.

Montessori research cannot be confined to standardised tests as an indicator of educational effectiveness. The important factor in a study is the number of participants to suffice a statistical analysis. SPSS is a boon to research scholars for data analysis. Research language requires precision to articulate the definition of the study and the measures we use for collecting data, devising an instrument made by the scholar with construct validity holds good. This will reveal and gauge the validity of our conclusions. when we say it is statistically significant in research interpretation, its understood that the results represent a true difference in the measured population.Always having a body of  knowledge in our study will  support the hypothesis.

Validity of the study for practical implication using appropriate language and design of the research process is non negotiable. A huge learning factor is to accommodate contingencies in a transparent study taking in healthy criticism without deterrents. With the armour of honesty, doing full justice  to our study is half our battle won. Complying to directions and policies of the university is inevitable. the scholars study of abstracts, reviews done systematically and scientifically and applied to the work diligently without wasting time, mastering the styles relevent to the study of the problems is essential to face set backs and will always give room for improvement and commit to scholarly passion for research.

Elucidating limitations of the study is crucial

Most often the sample for Montessori research comes from well-educated mid to high income group families. Sample most often from private schools in urban setting, teachers with montessori credentials.Construct validity and consistency of measurement of tools is important, chances of researchers bias and conditions of data collections will affect results. Validity both external and internal should hold stead.Attrition itself could be a problem, the incidence of confounding variables is high. Ethical issues should not be compromised as data gathered is of children.

The Montessori method has been carried forward by the context of the times of Dr. Montessori life and work. The gendered side to montessori story affected her in ways and lingers limiting her cited contribution to educational theory .

Finally montessori Research leads to the strong belief that practioners ,trainers and teachers play a magnificient role in Child development than academics and knowledge transfer.

 

Books for young readers

april 2017_blog 348As someone who works with children, teachers, trainers and mentors and Parents, I am privy to an ever ending discussion on children’s books. ” what makes children’ s books good?”. There are two approaches to a good children’s book, a content oriented approach and a result oriented approach. The first one is nutritive, socially conscious may be morally instructive. vast number of books are these days timely and relevant. Another criteria is psychological value. A good book according to child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim is, “that which would promote ability to find meaning in life develop  intellect, clarifies emotions, at the same time suggest solutions to the problems which perturb him.”  But there are few books which achieves these lofty ideals. C. S. Lewis in his land mark essay on “Three ways of writing for children” says,   Anyone who believes children’s books should be read only by children should admit defeat. How perfectly stated. Good books for children fall in the center of a Venn diagram where one circle is books that children like and the other is books that adult like. The content oriented approach for good books is that the reader will devour every page, rich and thoughtful which can challenge children  make them think and reconsider, to learn to grow and to become wiser and to see the world in a new way. The results oriented approach are the ones driven by sales figures.

Books for children in Montessori must be served by reality such as books on the natural world, true stories, books on world around us, books on different culture, books on people who help us. Our children’s own interest and reactions will let us know if we have introduced the right book to them. Montessorians look for books that are scientifically accurate multi culture in scope, well illustrated and to organize them by age and theme.Books on Poetry on animals, seasons, food or feelings,Books on reality based fiction we would sight “Cap’s for sale” where Monkeys are capable of stealing caps.The book :Gift of the tree” is a poetic account of the cycle of life of a majestic oak tree. pointing out the disconnectedness of animals and plant life.

The carrot seed, anyone who has planted a seed and seen it grow into a beautiful edible thing will love this story. Alison’s Zinnia,  is of learning more about the flower

nomenclature, walking through the gardens and identifying the flowers. Houses and homes by Ann morris is highly recommended.  young children are so interested in everyday necessities such as shoes, clothing, food and transportations. this book highlight how people have similar needs yet culture has unique ways of meeting them.

The quilt story is a touching story of a handmade quilt which follows many generations in a family. A wonderful way to introduce to children the value of handmade objects.

Books by Indian authors:

Stories of our country side and our animals ,Folk tails, books that give a big picture view of India through stories of beliefs and celebrations.Madhur Jaffery’s season of splendour, Celebrated writer Mahasweta Devi’s book ,why-why girl , is Moyna  who finds her answers to all why-whys through books that Moyna herself learns to read.My favorite’s  is Granny’s Sari by Asha Nehemiah where granny’s favorite sari is blown away by the wind as granny and Anu go looking for it, they meet several people who have used the sari to their needs. We, the children of India by former chief justice Leila Seth makes the words of the preamble to the constitution understandable to even the youngest reader.

Why are you afraid to hold my hand by Sheila Dhir inspired by the spastic society of India is a celebration of the normalcy of the differently abled. Mathematwist-Number tales from around the world. each story sets the brain ticking encouraging problem solving skills with a high quotient of fun.

The best advice is to choose books that we like for we would be reading to them again and again,our fondness for literature would rub of on them. Beginning with board books of world around them, best is to avoid fantasy untill six years of age when they are able to distinguish reality and make believe.children also like Rhyme and poetry . teaching how to Handle a book and care for them having a low bookshelf helps. Going to a library to choose books and attending Story time is a great experiance.Listening to your children’s interpretation of a story gives a good understanding of their learning. Reading to children, no matter their  age develops a bond  and enriching our lives forever.As children explore books we will find soon what triggers their interest and moves them further.

Go ahead Hoarde Books , for  it’s not Hoarding if it’s not Books !

 

Where is the Friends Home

 

On a sunny day Abbas Karistiomi ‘s film was screened for all the trainers, teachers and mentors. watching the Iranian film “Where is the Friends Home” was emotionally and a spiritually fulfilling experience. The movie comprised of non actors and a seven-year old boy, who was a refreshing hero of purity. A  childs story ,a comic epic showcasing the heroics of a student in a school in the village of Kokar in Iran. The movie raised more questions than answering them,it had a distinct intellectual air, a modest straightforward movie. A strange familiarity of Kokar to the villages we traverse, The people struck a note of familiarity of having traversed our path.Things that are trivial to adults are of considerable magnitude for Ahmed. Cherishing the moments we could not fathom, all the adults in the movie did not care a damn for Ahmed’s empathy for his friend or the sense of duty that drove him to find his friend.Ahmed’s ” doing the right thing”, The boy risking his all to return his friend’s notebook who had to complete the homework or the teacher would punish him.This is in conflict with the adult world So Ahmed traverses for long to find his friend’s home after having completed all the chores assigned by his mother, listening to the barbs of his grandfather wanting to spank him to discipline him, for it was done to him too.

The monumental search in a very adult world where the teacher strikes a chord of discipline in all the students. The movie ends with Ahmed doing his friend’s home work and is checked by the teacher and appreciated for it. This is the story of a good boy not giving up till the end, nor disobeys his unrelenting teacher. The teacher here is clearly unhappy person. On a reflecting note teachers in schools forget to see the child’s perspective. This is very visible in the movie. forgetting that they are in the noblest of professions of serving the children and liberating them. slipping through the filters we use in judging a teacher who have to facilitate learning. This movie is one of the fifteen movies to be watched by children by the age of fifteen suggested by British film institute (BFI). A must watch for all teachers,parents, educationists and academicians.we agree that The three important R’s to be practiced by teachers is Responsibility, Respect, and Reflection. Working with children needs psychological acumen, sensitivity towards child development and rigorous practice. Adding further its important the teachers practice the highest values in both professional and personal life, have the skills to nurture children and not enslave them to discipline. Here the arena is for the heart and mind, requiring integrity in practice.

essentially this is an illustration of the  of Paulo freire’s attack on   Banking concept of education where the child is not seen as empty account to be filled in by the teacher, they are not passive but active learners .a child learns that not all his elders say is right and rules  are broken ,how authority and righteousness does not mix,Ahmed learns so much in the day depicted. A must watch for all !