Archive for the ‘Learning Games’ Category

Ushering in a New Era with a US trip!

L,R: Divya, Sumathi

We are so excited by 2 RDF students, Divya and Sumathi, of Class 10, Kalleda School, who have been selected to go to the USA for a Youth Exchange Study Programme! For the 1st time in RDF, our students have been selected for such a programme and understandably, everyone is excited!

This opportunity has been given by Synchrony Financial, that has been supporting RDF’s work for over a decade though annual summer camps, development workshops, setting up English and Computer labs in our schools and teacher development. Last year, RDF students were invited to their ‘Goals for Girls Leadership Summit Programme’ in Hyderabad that was facilitated by the Synchrony Financial USA team. Here, students learnt about life skills through the metaphor of playing football and actually learnt football to make it an experiential learning process. They learnt valuable skills like communication, teamwork, goal setting and dealing with life’s inevitable challenges through understanding the game of football – a unique experience for everyone!

During the programme, the students had to create a themed project and the 2 girls chose Recycling as their theme and made ‘Plasto Coolers’, a low cost cooling mechanism that can help rural communities during summer. The girls, looking at a real life problem thought inventively and came up with this project idea which impressed and inspired everyone. Based on this project, they were shortlisted for the US study programme and thereafter cleared 3 rounds of interviews too! Though they were nervous, they received a lot of support and encouragement from the Synchrony team and we are very grateful for that! From a pool of 40 hopefuls, for 2 rural girls to get selected is an absolute honour and a testament to their sincerity and fortitude to do well for themselves.

We wish Sumathi and Divya lots of luck for this amazing, new journey that they are embarking on. We know they will come back enriched and ready to pass on their learning to everyone!

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Going the Extra Mile for Extracurricular Activities!

For most educational institutions, extracurricular activities is seen as something outside of regular school work; academics is given greater importance. However, in RDF, we believe that learning happens when it’s fun, therefore we place a lot of emphasis on extracurricular activities too, as the achievements and successes from such activities spill over into all areas of a child’s life, which is what we would like to see!

Our extracurricular activities encompass a gamut such as art/craft, reading/writing, sports and indoor games, poetry and elocution, experiments, with a big dose of fun! Our teachers are trained to spot skills and talents in children, even if they surface in small ways because small doesn’t mean insignificant! This foundation is created right from the time the child starts in our schools. With the encouragement and care of teachers, these children become confident in themselves and their abilities which allows them to face challenges in other areas of their lives too.

In Redlawada School, the teachers spend a considerable amount of time to thoughtfully plan extracurricular activities, so the ‘extra’ effort doesn’t feel like effort! They’ve seen how the smallest of accomplishments or even acknowledgement goes a long way in building self esteem and help students focus on their goals with greater clarity. The sense of play and building interest creates a nurturing environment in the school, which everyone thrives in. Our biggest testament is that the kids enjoy coming to school and interacting with their teachers.

This holistic, whole life education is appreciated by the parent community too, who feel happy that their children are doing well, supported admirably by their dedicated teachers!

On Your Marks!

Sporting activities have got a new angle at Matendla School.  A new perspective has been brought in through the ‘Marks for Sports’ programme that was introduced by RDF Director, Mr. Andrian Kennedy. The aim is to encourage children to improve their sports skills by treating sports as a regular subject and allotting marks.

Marks for Sports is a 5 star fitness programme. It has been introduced and implemented in Matendla School before being taken to the other schools. The process was started by testing the students in 5 categories viz. Shuttle Run, Toe Touch, Standing Jump, 9 Minute Run and Speed (50 metres) Run. Student performances are recorded and a star rating system is assigned for each test – the stars are equivalent to the performance based scores in the tests. Any student who doesn’t qualify can attempt the test again in the next academic year.

The students are enjoying the new system and are pushing themselves to perform better. It is hoped that not only will the students improve their sporting skills and enhance their performance, but that they will receive the benefits of taking up sporting activities such as improved coordination, flexibility, stamina etc, regardless of their marks.

This is yet another way to engage our students productively and gives them an avenue to participate in interesting activities to develop their skills. We are glad that they have taken to this programme and are thoroughly enjoying themselves!

All Ado about Maths!

National Mathematics Day is celebrated in fun ways in RDF schools. Rollakal School paid an ode to Ramanujam, the brilliant mathematician through a special prayer service and then having a full day of interesting Maths based activities.

The teachers worked hard at creating quizzes, riddles, number games, problem solving and logical thinking questions in order to engage the children in a variety of mathematical operations and have fun at the same time.  Games such as ‘Four Operations’, ‘EasyMortification’, ‘Numerical Ability’ and ‘Maths Buzz’ sure created a ton of buzz in the school campus! The kids were drawn in with the format of quiz and games and showed a lot of enthusiasm to engage their minds to solve the problems put to them. The winners in each activity won prizes.

‘Gamefying’ any subject is a sure-shot way of injecting fun and we know that learning happens seamlessly when something is fun. Also, kids love challenges; so they were raring to go to use their reasoning and problem solving skills to tackle the problems.

In this way, RDF schools create a positive learning environment  which encourages children to engage in meaningful ways in their own learning and enhance their skills and talents in different areas.

Bala Sabha

Showing off dance skills!

Melodious singing

A ‘Bala Sabha’ – an ‘Assembly of Children’ was conducted for the very first time in RDF Rollakal School! Though RDF schools are student centric and children are empowered in their daily activities to think and speak freely through the creation of a nurturing and invigorating school environment, this event was special because it was planned and executed ENTIRELY by children! The school staff was amazed with the ease with which the event was conducted, which shows the level of responsibility, attention to detail and planning that was put into place by these young  children.

Yeah! Yoga!!

Little ones, enacting rhymes

In an ode to a democratic system of functioning, the event was performed by the children, for the children and will be now conducted on the last Saturday of each month. The first of this series was a wonderful programme that showcased children’s talent in areas such as literature, music, dance, folk songs, poetry, skits, mimicry and role plays. Even the prizes were carefully selected by the children, which were distributed by the teachers, who came forward in full support!

A captivating skit!

It was a wonderful learning experience for the children too. Many kids who had stage fear were able to handle it and express their views and feelings to the audience. Because they felt empowered, they were able to overcome their self consciousness and gave everything their very best. They put in tremendous research by reading books, newspapers, articles on the internet and magazines in order to plan their pieces for the programme. The level of enthusiasm with the reigns in their hands was phenomenal!

The success of this programme shows that children, when given the right inputs through a nurturing environment, engaged with as intelligent individuals with a diversity of interests and skills, thrive and then bring forth a sense of responsibility and creativity, such as what we saw in Rollakal School.

The Games Children Play!

Given a chance, everyone would play, not just children, but adults too! But to children, play comes naturally and encouraging this natural instinct is something we wanted to do for all RDF children. Therefore, creating playgrounds and encouraging indoor and outdoor games and sports is something we take seriously, pun not intended!

Unfortunately, we see a lot of stress being created in schools where play time is seen as a waste of time. Even in rural areas, we see children spend more time playing games on their phones, than play outdoors. But RDF kids get plenty of opportunities to play as we know that classroom based education, while an important part of the curriculum, is not sufficient to create healthy and happy individuals.

Children come in before school to play badminton, football, volleyball and cricket and do the same after school too. They voluntarily choose to spend their leisure time at play, either outside or indoors. Games build crucial physical and mental fitness. Instead of being indoors, cooped up for long hours, our children get plenty of break time, stretch their muscles and flex their mental muscles too! They say it’s one reason why they love coming to school so much. Many times, teachers join in on the fun too!

In the photos, children of Redlawada School are seen having a great time on the swings that were recently placed in the playgrounds. We love the sound of laughter or the sight of focused silence as children ponder their carom or chess boards! Seeing such vitality makes us feel good about the work we do! Happy kids, happy teachers, happy us!!

The Wonders of Chess

Learning the immensely complex and fascinating game of Chess is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, chess, has been shown to increase reasoning, logical, abstract and analytical abilities. It also develops concentration and sharpens the brain. Learning chess, like any skill, takes discipline and we are really happy to see many RDF children take to this game of their own volition.

A healthy mind and a fit body contribute greatly to the overall wellbeing of a person and this is a fundamental principle at RDF schools. In Kalleda School, the sounds of chess have been resounding in its corridors for years! Children choose it naturally and derive a lot of enjoyment from it. Children are learning the game from the lesson ‘The Wonderful World of Chess’. They play the game on a regular basis, right from the time they are in Primary school. They even want to play it during their leisure time. We can see the improvement in their analytical and decision making abilities, their memory skills, as well making them feel confident about their abilities, which is essential for their mental and emotional growth.

We heartily recommend introducing chess at a young age for children and watch their mental, emotional and psychological abilities blossom! It’s a wonderful way to empower them and believe in themselves.