At Educate for Life, we believe that community members are an important part of school accountability system and should be able to provide their insight and advice on how to improve the school. Child Learning Demonstration Days at Hunar Ghar are one of the key processes that enable this as explained in detail in our Teacher’s Handbook. These are monthly events where children demonstrate what they have learnt in their classrooms in front of the whole community. Our Fundraising and Communications officer Shwetambera writes about her experience of attending the Child Learning Demonstration event conducted in October before Diwali holidays in school.
A couple of weeks back, during my visit to Hunar Ghar, I attended the monthly Child Learning Demonstration Day. Child Learning Demonstration Day, along with our School Management Committee and Community Newsletters, is one of the practices followed at Hunar Ghar to increase participation of the local community.
In an area, where the problem of lack of education is entwined with abject poverty and deprivation, the solutions cannot be arrived at through one-size-fits-all policies and interventions. Hence, we have adopted an approach where the local community is an integral part of our vision of transforming the lives of their children. Our team at Hunar Ghar works closely with the local community through clearly defined processes like Child Learning Demonstration Days that facilitate community participation. It creates space and opportunity for the community to take ownership in the management of the school and understand better how their children are benefitting from Hunar Ghar. Child Learning Demonstration Days are conducted on the last Friday of every month, when children demonstrate what they have learnt through activities and performances in front of the whole community.
The Child Learning Demonstration Day conducted in October was attended by more than 150 members from the local community. Children from all the classes at Hunar Ghar put up performances on what they learnt in different subjects over the past one month. These performances included group recitation and enactment of poems, activities based on numerical and geometrical knowledge, demonstration of how solar and lunar eclipses take place and an enactment of the mythological story of Ramayana in the street play format. There were posters of beautiful drawings and sketches displayed across the perimeter of the event area showcasing the work done by children and teachers. Individual child portfolios were also displayed to discuss children’s progress with the parents. At the end of the event, the children gave a tour of the school to parents and other community members where they showed them the newly-built classrooms and latest developments like installations of learning aids, chairs and tables.
It was altogether an incredible experience attending the Child Learning Demonstration event in person. There is a long way to go but change is ostensible in small, but significant ways when a local community member, instead of a Brahmin priest, conducts the inaugural ceremony for new classrooms, when children as young as 4 years confidently recite poetry in Mewari, Hindi and English in front of the heads of local self-government bodies and a crowd of more than 150 people and class 5 students explain the mysteries of universe in a language that can be understood by all.