Creating Effective Learning and Teaching in Classrooms

13th & 23rd May 2019 | GD Goenka Junior School, Vasant Kunj | New Delhi

Learning Matters Foundation conducted a ten day intensive teacher training workshop for Pre-K to 5th Grade GD Goenka teachers. The goal of the training was to empower the teachers with progressive research-based educational practices for meaningful and joyful learning and teaching. Over the sixty hours of training we shared hands-on experiential learning practices that gave teachers the understanding and tools to be able to create student-centered lessons that they could implement in their classrooms to ensure ALL students succeed.

The training addressed:

  • Educational philosophy that is at the core of a progressive approach to teaching.
  • The stages of child development and its impact on classroom practices.
  • The importance of and ways to build a learning community.
  • Ways of reaching diverse learners prevalent in every classroom.
  • Experiential learning strategies in the content areas of Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics and Science.
  • Foundations of Literacy and Comprehension.
  • The role of games to reinforce classroom learning.
  • The research and importance of movement in learning and ways to embed movement to teach content.

Learning Matters Foundation invited leaders from Rato Bangala Foundation, in Nepal to co-facilitate this training.

Noor Anand Chawla writes about her experience at the workshop.

Read the entire post here.

9 Reasons The Children’s School by Learning Matters Foundation is the Best Start for Your Pre-Schooler

by Noor Anand Chawla

Read the original post here.

If there’s one thing I have learnt in life, it is the importance of education. My pursuit of higher studies abroad taught me to appreciate the joys of education, and I wished this wholesome educative process had been offered to me from the start. This made me realise the importance of choosing institutions that foster children’s growth as per their own unique skill set and developmental age, from the very beginning.

I began to search for pre-schools for my son when he turned two, and zeroed in on The Children’s School by Learning Matters Foundation as my first choice. He thoroughly enjoyed his time at the First Steps Program.

I recently attended a Coffee Morning at the school, organised in conjunction with Facebook Parenting Group Mommy A-Z. The event was attended by new parents as well as parents of children enrolled at the school. The enlightening and frank discussion between the parents and teachers prompted me to write this post. Read on to know 9 reasons why I feel this school is the best choice for your child.

  1. AN EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY THAT FOCUSES ON THE CHILD:

Each child develops and performs as per their own unique abilities and skill-sets. As parents, we must recognise and respect this about our children. By forcefully teaching traditional concepts through typical curricular learning, you are hampering the holistic education of your child. The best way to achieve is this, by creating an environment that encourages children to develop as per traditional timelines.

The Learning Matters Foundation believes that all students can achieve success and find joy in learning. They base their classroom approach on neuroscience research focussing on the diversity of minds. Their child centred approach ensures each child is respected and challenged according to their unique learning profile.

Their teaching philosophy stresses on imparting the following essential life skills, for the overall development of every child:

  1. Social competence
  2. Emotional wellbeing
  3. Cognitive development
  4. Motor skills
  5. Language skills

2. FANTASTIC TEAM OF EXPERIENCED EDUCATORS:

The Learning Matters Foundation is the brainchild of Sonya Philip, M. Ed. With two post-graduate degrees in education from the United States, including one in special education, she has dedicated the last 40 years to this field. She believes that learning should be a joyous process for children. I echo her thoughts when she says that the seeds for lifelong development are sown in the early years, making it crucial to give children the right start.

She is ably aided in her endeavours, by a team of dynamic educators with their finger on the proverbial pulse of modern parenting. Samara Gupta, who has done extensive research on the neuroscience of learning; Samini Philip whose background in psychology and use of kinesthetics in teaching lends her a unique advantage; and a host of friendly, caring teachers.

What particularly impresses me about the faculty is their desire to keep learning, constantly apprising themselves of the latest in the educational sector. They have over 1000 hours of faculty workshops and trainings to their credit.  

3. EMPHASIS ON FREE PLAY THAT AIDS IN CRITICAL THINKING:

The school’s philosophy on free play is inspired by a constructivist approach to learning, that enables children to construct their own knowledge through active engagement with the environment. The teacher’s role in their educational journey, is to be a collaborator and facilitator.

A free play philosophy stresses on activity based play as opposed to item based play. Playing with a recommended set of toys, can harm the creativity of children because of its one-dimensional nature. Whereas, with activity based play, children learn to think on their feet and solve problems, while also being respectful of differences. These are indispensable skills that will aid them in life, and prepare them for an unpredictable and as yet unknown job market, twenty years from now.

Children are born with an innate ability to live in the moment, and unfortunately schools and the fixed curricula, rob them of this ability. The most palpable results of this harmful practice can be seen through the sharp increase in mental health issues in adult life.

Free play also encourages internal speech, which helps them become confident and critical thinkers.

4. CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS:

The Coffee Morning I attended, made it evident that parents are involved team members in the educative process of their children at The Children’s School. Parents are encouraged to be partners in their child’s learning process.

I personally loved the weekly email updates when my son studied here, updating me of the activities he participated in, sharing his progress level, as well as adorable photographs that I could preserve.

The faculty encourages open communication with the parents, always willing to give advice outside of the school curriculum as well.

5. GREAT LOCATION:

Located in Shaheed Jeet Singh Marg in the Qutub Institutional Area, it is easily accessible from South and Central Delhi as well as Gurgaon. The area has plentiful green cover as it is near the Delhi ridge. This is an added advantage to combat the terrible air pollution that plagues Delhi in the winter months.

6. UNBEATABLE TEACHER-CHILD RATIO:

The 6:1 teacher-child ratio will be hard to find in any other school in the city. This ensures the highest quality engagement with each child, and allows the children to grow on their own time, at their own pace.

7. SPACIOUS AND WELL-LIT BUILDING:

The spacious rooms, well-lit and homely ambiance emit positive vibes, as soon as you enter. A well-stocked library of books, a plethora of child-safe and age-appropriate toys and activities, make this a truly happy place for children.

8. ACCESS TO LARGE PLAYGROUND:

Playing outdoors teaches children the importance of being independent, appreciating nature, understanding the concept of risk, and aids in their social and cognitive development. The Children’s School has a lovely playground with swing sets, sandpits and water play to beat the heat!

9. VARIETY OF PROGRAMS TO CHOOSE FROM:

With three different programs to choose for your pre-schoolers, the administrative team makes sure that no round pegs are forced into square holes.

  • The Parent-Child Program begins at 16 months and goes up to 24 months and includes a 1 Hour session twice a week. The idea is to show a wider world to children, outside of their home, by introducing developmentally appropriate sensory experiences through play.
  • The First Steps Program is for 2-3 year olds and takes place for 2 hours 5 days a week. The program ensures social-emotional, physical, creative and cognitive development of pre-schoolers primarily through child-led play.
  • The Right Start Program is for 3-5 year olds and takes place for 3 hours five days a week (with an option of 4 hours). In this program, the teachers focus on children’s development of language, literacy, numeracy, social-emotional and physical abilities; by observing the children and developing a dynamic curriculum according to their needs.

I strongly believe that The Children’s School by Learning Matters Foundation ensures your children receive a fantastic start in this world. My son was a part of the First Steps program of this school, and fondly remembers the activities he participated in, as well as his lovely teachers, even after a year of leaving the school. That is a strong testament to the values this institution instils in every child that studies here. I highly recommend this school to everyone, and encourage you to take a free tour with the faculty at the earliest.

Noor Anand Chawla with Sonya Philip, May 9, 2019