The June Orientation for this year was conducted between 15th June – 25th June. The underlying theme for this year’s orientation was to strengthen a series of transitions both in Bakhel and within Educate for Life to create a larger impact. Co-founders of Educate for Life Ed Forrest and Akshay Patel, representatives from Apni Shala, school leadership expert Madhu Sareen and our interns Leah, Wuraola and Joshna took sessions that focussed on adapting the curriculum to meet the needs of our first generation rural learners and work in partnership with the community to run a quality school integrated with health and community services.
The ten-day June orientation programme is conducted every year for the team at Hunar Ghar to prepare for the beginning of new academic year. The focus of the orientation this year was on team building, life skills training, and technical skills development for teachers so that they are able to facilitate an empowering learning environment for children and simultaneously work towards enabling greater integration of health and community services with education. While there were sessions on topics like first aid training, annual chapter and session planning and classroom leadership which were relevant for the team’s day to day work, there were also sessions on child protection, developing a growth mindset, understanding values and rules and how they guide us which enabled them to situate their work in the context of the broader vision of Educate for Life.
Below are some of the highlights of this June orientation:
Sessions by Apni Shala
Amrita Nair and Mayuri Golambde from Apni Shala, a Mumbai-based organisation conducted teacher support sessions at the June Orienation. This was a part of an ongoing partnership with Apni Shala for the capacity building of teachers on integrating life-skills in classrooms. One of their sessions included understanding the importance of praising the learning process and effort put in by children instead of intelligence or ability. They also facilitated games to explore power relationships through movement so that teachers could empathize with how children in class can feel under the wrong kind of teacher leadership.
Pic 1: Game exploring power relationships facilitated by Apni Shala
Creating inclusive and happy learning environments
Our Special Educational Needs Intern Leah conducted training sessions on “Inclusive Learning Environments”. These sessions too had an underlying theme of building greater empathy towards children. The sessions focussed on the fact that it is important for teachers to adopt a non-judgmental attitude towards children, encourage participation in the learning process and offer the children a safe space for failure. She also developed tools for teachers that can be used to create ideal classrooms which were greatly appreciated by the teachers.
Pic 2: Clipboards to create happy, inclusive classrooms
Sessions on health
While there were focussed sessions for the health team in a 2-day intensive workshop, sessions were also conducted for the teachers on different aspects of child health like nutrition, importance of vaccinations, first aid and impact of health on child growth and development.
The Safe Childhood Programme starting this year formed one of the major components of the health sessions conducted during orientation for the health team. Akshay, Joshna and Wuraola conducted sessions with Vishnu Priya, Kanan, and Kanku in the community health team on how to support and advise mothers in Bakhel to take best possible care for their newborns through three years of age. They covered nine key health topics, to give the health team skills and knowledge they need to be able to monitor growth, provide appropriate advice to parents and address problems when faced with vulnerable, unwell or failing to thrive children.
Pic 3: Health team at Hunar Ghar in discussion with interns Joshna and Wuraola
Teachers’ Handbooks launched
Handbooks for teachers were launched in Hindi and English outlining the values that drive Hunar Ghar, roles and responsibilities of teachers and processes that support teachers, promote child learning and increase community participation.
Overall the June Orientation marked the beginning of an exciting year ahead with the installation of a new chapter at Hunar Ghar and a dynamic and growing team set towards creating a larger impact. There was an increased focus on teachers being learning facilitators to enable ‘active’ learning by children and providing them scope to innovate, inspire creativity and develop a growth mindset. The education and health teams also came together to realise the goal of creating a contiguous and integrated support stream for children at Hunar Ghar.