Archive for July, 2016

Billiards and beaming smiles!

The RDF Team always looks at providing new and interesting opportunities for the children enrolled in its schools. Over the past 20 years, it has been our privilege to have partnered with many inspirational organisations and individuals who have selflessly given their time and commitment to join hands with us to do more for the cause of rural education.

RDF BilliardsThe children also soak up new information, experiences and training like sponges! In June, we had written about Synchrony Financial, Hyderabad, organising summer training for students of the four RDF schools. At the graduation ceremony held at their i-Labs campus, the kids were introduced to the game of Billiards.
After a demonstration of playing techniques by the Synchrony Financial team, the children took a literal shot at the game! It took some getting used to, but the kids overall enjoyed the new game!

With no effort being spared to create an experience rich environment for them academically as well as in sports and other extracurricular activities, we always hope that it ignites a spark somewhere in the children, who always make us proud! 🙂

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Effective Use of Teaching Learning Materials

The growth and success of rural education and schools lies in the hands of skilling rural teachers in good child centred and goal oriented teaching practices, of which an important aspect is designing high quality teaching learning materials. These teaching learning materials need to be low cost in order for teachers to get trained with new information and knowledge easily and effectively.

Ms. Sridevi with teachers at her workshop

Ms. Sridevi with teachers at her workshop

It is also crucial that urban educators, teaching experts and volunteers provide their time and expertise in order to help the significantly larger base of rural student population (compared to the urban student population) as it has been shown that quality teacher training can bring tremendous improvement in learning outcomes

RDF was glad to have Mrs. Sridevi onboard to train the Tech Mahindra Foundation staff on producing teaching learning materials that are easy to make and help bring out key concepts in the topics being studied. She explained the relevance of having bright posters in the classroom as visual aids to help children retain key points from a lesson.

Learning how to use blackboards effectively

Learning how to use blackboards effectively

She also taught how to use coloured paper and recycled paper to make easy materials such as birds, flowers, leaves, stars etc. Teachers were asked to design a poster on one theme of their choosing. The teachers made two beautiful posters on ‘Save Water and ‘Follow Traffic Rules’. Teachers also learnt how to use the blackboard creatively to teach numbers and alphabets to primary children.

Posters made by teachers

Posters made by teachers

The teachers were very pleased with the wonderful session and are looking forward to putting their training to use in their classrooms.

 

Spirited Effort

Today, we would like to honour and appreciate the spirit and resilience of Redlawada School students, S. Eswar.

How many of us pause to consider the role played by various parts of our body in allowing us to go about our daily activities with ease? We sit at computers and use phones for a better part of the day or walk, sit, stand, run, without ever having to think about our limbs.

Eswar working on a computer in the school

Eswar working on a computer in the school

Eswar is afflicted with ‘dwarfism’, a condition that did cause him to feel awkward and self conscious initially. He wanted to learn to use a computer but felt shy and uncertain as he felt he would not be able to reach a computer comfortably. With the support of his classmates and teachers, who acknowledged his anxiety, and encouraged him, he began using one. With his interest in learning, he persevered and developed confidence to use a computer.

He says he didn’t really feel like he struggled since he received a lot of help. He loves being in the computer lab now, working on his computer skills. There is much to learn from real life ‘heroes’ like Eswar!

Helping Hands

Kalleda School has been encouraging and motivating their students to help their parents at home and in farm work as this can help them take on responsibility at home and therefore allow them to be responsible citizens in the future.

Students helping a local farmer in his field

Students helping a local farmer in his field

The school and students have been discussing how they can help parents at home by becoming more sensitive to the hardships their parents undergo to support their livelihood and academics.

Students are repairing taps1

Students helping repair taps in the school

There are several ways that students have been helping their parents – they have been helping during holidays with plantation, sowing and other field work; helping in household chores such as cleaning, cooking and fetching water as well as cultivating a kitchen garden in their homes. They have also been motivated to help by keeping their rooms clean and keeping their books and other things in an orderly manner at home. At school too, they are being encouraged to maintain their classrooms and common areas.

The children are already aware of the sacrifices being made by their parents. Discussing this with peers allows them to motivate each other and develop more discipline and attention towards responsibilities they can take up at home and help their parents.

“Planting Seeds for an Engaged Community”

Children in rural areas go to schools and aspire to get well paid jobs in cities. The economic hardship faced by their families whose mainstay is farming or daily wage work, makes this a natural aspiration. At the same time, families continue to engage in farming as they have for generations. Therefore, a key focus area for RDF is to instill respect towards agriculture and farming in our children.

Students with the school Headmaster, discussing the importance of organic plantations

Students with the school Headmaster, discussing the importance of organic plantations

All RDF schools have an organic kitchen garden which is tended by students and staff. Seasonal produce is then utilized in the kitchen for the Midday Meal Program. Matendla School has also been engaging with the local community to bring organic practices to the farms of some villagers. Together, students and locals have been working to repair soil health by moving away from chemical based fertilizers and pesticides to promote better farming methods and healthier produce.

Students & teachers at work in a farmer's field

Students & teachers at work in a farmer’s field

We hope such engagement will help some students take to farming and plant seeds for a vibrant community. Children and adults learn together to create healthier farms and communities!

Practicing Healthy Habits

Health alerts are common with the onset of the monsoons in India. With preventable diseases like dysentery, cholera and typhoid still a very real problem in rural and urban areas, exercising good hygiene habits and caution when using water is imperative.

ROS 2Health and Hygiene practices are taught regularly in RDF schools. The infrastructure in all schools is upgraded regularly with financial help from RDF donors. Every school has fully functioning toilets for boys and girls. Staff undergoes consistent Health and Hygiene sessions with RDF Headoffice staff volunteers and medical practitioners. These are implemented and monitored daily by senior students and staff.

ROS 1Recently, Rollakal School conducted a session on ‘Importance of Washing Hands’ for pre-primary and primary children. There was a discussion with the little ones on the importance of washing hands with soap before and after eating and when using toilets. Simple information on spread of germs and diseases through not washing hands were given.

The kids have taken the instructions seriously and remember to wash their hands when needed.