Saturday, 14 May 2016

Our Preparedness

                                                                                                                         - Deyone (Centre Co-ordinator and Facilitator)  
Most children at GUBBACHI are unschooled or schooled sporadically. We seem to have sorted out the problem of generating a need in the children to come and engage in the learning experience. A lot of thought and planning goes into the whys, hows and whats of facilitating literacy and numeracy. It is evolving. The core guiding principle of GUBBACHI (every child is unique and is valued), makes this process of evolving curriculum a constant in our lives.
Most children are able to sit and listen to instructions of the facilitators and respond to it positively; if we can say, they conform to our curriculum and lesson plans. But there are also those children who don’t see any meaning in the activity of “learning” as we define it. These are the children who are at the risk of dropping out of the bridge program...possibly out of education for life.
We soon identified some of the demons that the children are fighting:
-                   some are unable or hesitant to express themselves because of lack of vocabulary or fear of failure or not being accepted.  
-                   some have under-developed fine motor skills; hence they are not able to hold the pencil or pen and write as other children of their age.
-                   And some children are not finding the pedagogy and content interesting enough to learn.
         Having zeroed in on the problem we decided to get cracking
         We now have a bridge to the bridge. 
         We have an initial 3 week program for children when they join the centre. It has mainly three parts: expressing oneself, introduction to numeracy and building vocabulary and phonemic awareness.
Expressing oneself: Children are given opportunities to communicate with adults and peers around them in a non-threatening way. For example, they are asked to sketch whatever they like for an hour. Most of them use one or twoA4 sized paper per session. Once done with their sketching they sit in a circle and share what they have drawn with the facilitator and peers. In the first week it is free drawing.  Later they are asked to draw about their day or home or their daily walk to school. Not judging the children for the drawing gives them a feeling of being accepted as they are and their expressions. At the end of 3rd week children who were not ready to talk, open up and start sharing their drawings ...and experiences.
 Numeracy: Our numeracy session are very simple. We sit near the school gate and count the number of vehicles passing by. Students learn to count till 10 and then we again start from 1. We count the number of leaves on the plants. Realise it is a lot. We see patterns in leaves and walk in straight lines and become conscious of the ‘right side’ and ‘left side’ while exploring the campus.
Building vocabulary and phonemic awareness: We follow the noun awareness route. Children name the things around them. For many children it is a new idea to split one word into separate sounds and for some others surprising to realise that a sentence is made up of separate words and not a single piece of long word with some tune.
       We are gaining confidence in our beliefs as more and more children begin to decode alphabets into sounds and then words and then some meaning…a meaning that might overlap with what others also understand … but often unique to them. We are also gaining confidence that if we stay true to compassion more simple solutions will emerge for a complex problems.

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