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Teachers bagged it!!

It’s a unique quality when teachers put in effort in order for their students to feel at comfortable and happy in school. At RDF, we pride ourselves in creating an enriching and invigorating environment in our schools, which has come about due to our belief in a holistic and nurturing approach to education, which applies equally to teachers and students! Since the teachers feel cared for, its natural that they do the same for the students too.

A fun balancing act!

Fun in the playground

In Matendla School, teachers conducted a day full of surprise activities for the children. The only hint they gave them was to say, “Don’t bring your bags to school tomorrow!” The kids were agog with excitement! Mr. Rajireddy, a teacher in the school was put in charge to organise ‘funny games’ for Primary school. He spent several days planning and designing funny games, putting in a lot of effort! The students participated in the funny games amidst a lot of laughing, giggling and talking, which created a buzzing environment in the school!

For the High School children, the school conducted 3 different activites in Telugu, English and Maths. In Telugu and English, groups of students were given short story books, which they had to analyse and make interesting questions in an allocated time of 1 hour. Then the students had great fun posing their questions to one another. It was interesting that many students created questions that needed higher order thinking skills, rather than answers which could be easily found in the story. In the Maths round, the teachers conducted an MNS (Minimum Numerical Skills) test which was introduced by the Vandemataram Foundation. Again, the kids were very curious and solved the problems eagerly – a nice sight to see!

In this way, the team strives to create a positive impact for the children and the community. On this ‘no bag’ day, children were exposed to a variety of new information using interesting games and techniques. Every student enthusiastically participated in all the activities and they showed their prowess at problem solving and creative thinking!

Well done to all the teachers for inspiring the students to show their best and putting together a fun day of learning and play! In this way, RDF schools are always giving scope to children to learn new information and implementing it in their lives. Learning from textbooks and rote education are stifling to learning and creativity. Teachers seriously endeavour to go beyond textbooks and as an NGO, the schools are really working towards building each child’s innate interest, quality and talent!


Creativity, Coins and Kudos!

The true spirit of education and learning is to ignite curiosity and facilitate the natural interest of children. We can never stop smiling when we see creativity, born out of interest and curiosity, unfold itself through interesting experiments and contraptions.

Vijay, building the ‘Coin Separator’

Thumma Vijay, a Class 7 student of Rollakal School, combined craft and science to make a ‘coin separator’ for the school. He had observed that carrying small change can be a little troublesome. So he fashioned a ‘set of drawers’ from thick cardboard to separate Re. 1, Rs. 2 and Rs. 5 coins! He also had the foresight to think of user comfort and stuck 3 bottle caps to pull and push the drawers! With this model, everyone saves time counting out coins and they stay safe too.

The freedom to design their own creations, either based on what they learn and understand in the classroom or from other sources of inspirations is a joy to see. We are very proud that RDF schools actively promote this spirit of freedom in all its students. The teachers receive full credit for supporting students’ learning journeys.

Now Vijay’s classmates have resolved to come up with their own ideas to create something useful for their school or their home. It’s brilliant how a simple contraption is creating this wave of inspiration for everyone.

Well done Vijay – we are very proud of your invention and look forward to more creativity from the school!

Conscious Creativity

Creative ideas are burgeoning in RDF Rollakal School! The students who are learning in an environment that encourages freedom and creative self expression are exploring various artistic mediums in order to channelize their creative spark.

The urge to be creative and feel self expressed in doing so is a very natural human urge. Many schools,  in their pursuit of academics and examinations, tend to have a low priority for artistic endeavours. However, in RDF schools, we realize that an enriching environment is not just one with a high quality of academic focus, it is also watching out for children’s natural curiousity, their innate talent and providing them the environment and encouragement to delve in artistic endeavours such as art, craft, singing, dancing, writing, experimenting – any manner which enthuses their spirit!

Theatre Thursday has been put together by students who are interested in the medium of theatre to explore socially relevant issues. For these kids, the exploration is not just about acting; it is about using the medium of act as visual storytelling in order to highlight issues in our society that is relevant to their lives. The idea/theme, the story creating, dialogue writing, direction and acting is managed entirely by the students! It just goes to show the deep level of interest they have in their social reality and bringing it to light through a thoughtful play. Some of the themes enacted recently have been Jealousy, Greed, Anger, Failure & Disappointment. These are real emotions – reality the students and their families experience; therefore, it is very empowering for them to explore this and work out solutions using theatre. We are very proud of their imagination and effort!

Another student, Pravalika, who is studying in Class 8, has always been artistically inclined. Over the past few months, she has been very interested in working with paper to explore her own creative ideas. Of course, she has been encouraged in this new found interest by the school and her teachers. She has now made several beautiful paper creations that are on display in the school. So pretty are her designs, with an amazing level of dexterity, that other children also want to learn from her!

Both these cases go to show that when treated with care and encouragement, students bring out the best in themselves. RDF staff make a very conscious effort to understand student’s needs and provide them with the means required to bring their creativity to the fore. This is what builds self esteem, self confidence and a feeling of empowerment – essential life skills in today’s world.

Happy Harvest!

ros-2The RDF team puts in tremendous effort to make its schools self sufficient and sustainable. RDF children come from rural, underprivileged families that lead difficult and financially hard lives. The children are always made aware of the effort it takes to provide resources to the schools that allow them to benefit from an enriched learning environment. However the means by which these resources are made available to the children and staff is never taken for granted.ros-3

Producing their own food is one way in which RDF tries to show the children the importance of farming and self reliance. All RDF schools have their own small kitchen farms. In RDF Rollakal School, students have been lovingly and carefully tending to the farm in their school premises. The farm is fully organic as the students and their families have been made aware about the damage to their health and soil through excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

The students collectively plant seasonal vegetable seeds and then look after them till they are ready to harvest. This season the students have cultivated bottle gourd, bitter gourd and ladies finger! ros-5ros-4These delicious vegetables are used for the midday meal in the school which is a crucial way in which the school is able to save some costs towards the midday meal.

The children are delighted to look after the farm and harvest their own produce. Food tastes so much better when you grow it yourself and is prepared with care by the cooking staff!

Achieving academic excellence

Paka Upagna with the headmaster of RDF Kalleda School

At RDF we believe in imparting a rounded education going above and beyond academics. However, our academic results are always a matter of great pride for us. This year RDF Kalleda School student Paka Upagna made the RDF family very proud by obtaining a 10/10 grade point average in the academic year 2011-12, along with this the school delivered a 100% pass result. Approximately 10 to 12 lakh students appear for this examination across Andhra Pradesh with only 1097 students achieving a 10/10 GPA.  To commemorate this achievement the headmaster, teachers and some of the villagers felicitated her. Paka Upagna wants to continue studying and become a doctor and serve the rural people. Way to go Paka Upagna!

A strong student

K. Pravalika started learning yoga in August

In just four months, Wadlakonda student K. Pravalika has shown an astounding ability in yoga.

The 5th class student learned yoga from Prabhakar, her physical education teacher. The photos well demonstrate the 10-year-old’s strength and agility. She is doing so well that she participated in the district’s yogasan championship and won 4th place.

The Wadlakonda student learned yoga from her physical education teacher

Congratulations K. Pravalika!

Growing our lunch

Redlawada students help pick tomatoes at the school farm

The dignity of labor – and practical farming tips – are two important lessons Redlawada students learn when they work on the school farm.

The farm-grown food is used for students’ mid-day meals and any extra food is sold at the local market since the school doesn’t have storage facilities for the perishable items.