Archive for the ‘RDF Matendla School’ Category

Encouraging Sports Dreams

Sports is a way of life in RDF schools. Children look forward to the Sports classes, with more and more children engaging in various sports like athletics, volleyball, kho-kho, kabaddi, martial arts, badminton, fencing, archery and even yoga! Over the years, several RDF children have won at district, state, national and international level competitions. We are grateful to our Physical Education Teachers who are dedicated to developing our students’ skills in various sports.

Sreeja, in her Class 4 classroom

Sreeja, with (L) school PET & (R) Asst. Headmaster

Ch. Sreeja is a Class 4 student from Matendla School who recently cleared the District level selection for enrolment in a State run sports school. These schools provide academic and focused sports coaching, helping students build a career in sports, which open up many work opportunities for them.  Like all RDF students, Sreeja comes from a financially poor family. Her father is a lorry driver and her mother works as a labourers. She has practices very hard under the supervision of the school’s PET, before and after school, in order to do well in the selections. Each student’s achievement strongly motivates other students to also put in effort, practice and accomplish their personal sports goals.

We pray that Sreeja continues to do well and obtain a seat in the Government residential sports school.

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Not Just Recycling Paper!

Running an NGO is very gratifying work, but it comes with its own challenges as well, primarily in the area of costs to keep the schools running. We are very blessed, that over 2 decades, we’ve had many individuals and organisations joining hands with us, to provide high quality and holistic education to rural children.

However, this story is an acknowledgement about how much our school teams also do, in order to cover part of their operating costs or reduce it. One method employed by Matendla School is recycling text books. Students are instructed to look after the text books carefully, so that the same books can be used the following year. This practice has been working well for the past 4 years. In addition to this, well preserved books look lovely with nice covers on them! The children and staff collect newspapers or old covers to be reused. Just before schools reopened this year, the Primary School teachers did an excellent job of collecting old covers and covering all the textbooks for classes KG to 5!

Small drops make an ocean and in this way, every effort made by the schools to look after some of their operating costs goes a long way. Since the schools run transparently, it’s also a great way for the students to become involved in such practices. By being involved at this fundamental level, the knowledge and learning is retained – another step to creating a wholesome learning environment in our schools!

 

Yes for Yoga!

A high quality education with high quality teaching standards requires well trained teachers. We are very proud of our teachers who put in a lot of effort to better their teaching practice through attending teacher training sessions onsite and offsite. They do this so that the classroom environment is engaging and children learn in meaningful ways.  This then necessitates that the well being of our hardworking teachers is looked after and we do this with yoga and meditation.

Matendla School was the venue of a yoga workshop by noted yoga therapist, Ms. Kamala and Ms. Karishma, who worked closely with the teachers to teach them yoga asanas, postures and breathing techniques. The teachers took to the session with the same dedication that we see in the other training sessions they attend. The teachers report that yoga helps them feel much better physically and mentally, which in turn helps their teaching too! We are truly happy to see that most of our teachers have created a daily yoga practice and do sessions with the students too! We are also very grateful to our community of supporters who help us with our needs in so many ways.

Helping Hands

The feeling of community is what drives RDF’s rural schools to become beacons of excellence locally. The schools function as far beyond educational institutions and in fact, have been instrumental in creating communal networks that have helped the schools and their extended communities to thrive.The schools look upon their local communities and parent communities to make key decisions for the running of the schools. The locals, with their trust in the schools, also look at myriad ways to help in whichever way they can.

It was in this spirit that Matendla School invited Mr. Masa Yadagiri, Sarpanch (elected village head), Narayanraopet village, to the school as the Chief Guest for the distribution of the Class 10 Hall Tickets. He met with the students and offered suggestions to help them focus and write their Board exams. He was pleased the students’ performance in all areas and was impressed with the system being followed in the school. He donated a set of instruments for the school band, an initiative that was first taken by the Primary school English teacher, Mr. K. Ashok. The parents of the Class 10 students were also present and the Parent Committee Chairman, Mr. Davaraju donated examination pads to each student.

We feel immensely supported by our local communities who help support their local school for better functioning. It enables parents to also be a part of the school, thus empowering everyone to do what is best for the schools!

An Interactive Experience

Silver Oaks, an International school in Hyderabad has been RDF’s education partner for over 10 years! What has remained the same over this decade has been their commitment and dedication to help RDF’s rural, underprivileged children in myriad ways to help with their development and potential success in school and beyond school. What has changed is how they continually evolve their work with our school, based on what’s happening in our communities and the school and using this feedback to add to or modify their interventions. This makes their work with us very contextual for the students and teachers, something we are very grateful for!

Matendla School was honoured with a visit by 36 students and 4 staff members from the school. From our end, we wanted exposure for our students to interact with new people and feel confident to exchange their views and ideas. The Silver Oaks team observed activities such as the ‘Balamela’, ‘Marks for Sports’ and other cultural activities. Through the day, the students exchanged ideas about academics and other areas.

Both groups felt enriched by the experience as the Silver Oaks students also understood the very different life and circumstances that rural children lead and the effort being made by the school, with Silver Oaks’ support to create a rich curriculum that allows for learning to be fun and meaningful. RDF children enjoyed meeting their city counterparts and learning from them.

 

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!

Buzzing about Quizzing!

Quizzing brings such a buzz and though competitive, it does lead to an atmosphere of healthy competition, honing awareness and analytical skills and tons of fun! RDF children love their Saturday programme that involves many interesting activities such as theatre, debate and declamation, music, games and quizzes!

The reason to do this simple – making learning fun and engaging for the kids by encouraging them to improve their skills and knowledge in different areas. Students of classes 3 to 5 in Matendla School participated in a quiz competition that tested their general knowledge, reasoning abilities and analytical skills. We were delighted to see how sharp the kids were! It was wonderful to see them ruminate on the logic and reasoning questions and come up with the right answers!  It also provided them with an opportunity to build confidence by honing their presentation skills by speaking in front of an audience.

Our teachers work hard to create a good learning environment for our first generation learners. It’s great to see the hard work pay off through the kids reciprocating these efforts by putting in their own effort and everyone having fun and learning so much through the process!